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Is it illegal for someone to take a picture of you without asking you? Thank you.

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Civil rights

Is it illegal for someone to take a picture of you without asking you?
Someone at my work...just held up her cell phone and about to take a picture of first I didn't realize what she was doing...then she got mad that I won't let her.

Oh..when I said "No", she added "Well, you wanted to be an actress". Just because I "Want" to be actress, doesn't give her the right to take my picture. And she knows that I don't like my picture taken...these days, in the computer don't know what people will do. She said it was just for her cell phone. Well..I have an unique name...its not like she won't know who I am if I were to call. We have each other's phone number for Work emergency Only. I think she was planning to take a picture of me...because she started off the conversation showing me her phone and showing me picture of her brother, and etc. Then next thing I know, she raised her cellphone in front of me. And now she is mad. This is like a 54 year old woman! Isn't that invasion of Privacy?? or Harrasement at work? Thank you for your help. I have no idea if she did take the picture of me or not, because I didn't hear that click when someone does take a picture of you. Thank you again.

Attorney Answers 2


It is not a crime to take a photo of someone at work. However depending on what happens next, if anyhthing, there could be civil liability for using the photo for a commercial purpose without your consent, invading your privacy, or portraying you in a false light. The proper remedy would be to complain to your supervisor at work or the HR department if applicable.

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I agree with the previous answer that a co-worker's single cell phone photo of you isn't illegal, or an invasion of your privacy, since cell phones with cameras are ubiquitous in our society, and you don't have a reasonable expectation that your image won't be put on a cell phone photograph in the workplace.

If the co-worker doesn't stop taking photos of you, or if she attempts to take photos of you that are altered in some unflattering or false way or show you in a "false light, then you might have a claim. Since those things don't appear to be happening, you should try to get along with your co-worker, ignore this very small slight to your sensitivity about being photographed, and don't look for problems that aren't there.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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