Can I ask my employer to remove my photo from the company website?
July 20, 2010 8:30 PM   Subscribe

My company has posted my photo along with those of other employees on its website. I'm not comfortable with having my picture online, in any context, and would like to ask that it be removed. I'll ask politely, but if my boss insists that it stays, I'd like to know what my rights are. I wasn't asked for permission. I'm in BC, so I guess I'm wondering particularly about BC laws and/or precedents. Please advise, so I know where I stand!
posted by otfence to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In what context was the photo being used taken?
posted by Justinian at 8:32 PM on July 20, 2010

They cannot use your likeness in a commercial context without a signed release.
posted by bradbane at 9:06 PM on July 20, 2010

Which you may have signed as a part of your new hire paperwork.
posted by Monday at 9:59 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

When my company wanted to use my photograph (along with my full name), I told them I'd had issues with harassment online in the past (true). I gave them no details, and they didn't ask for any. When it was phrased as a matter of personal safety, they were happy to remove my photo.
posted by adiabat at 12:18 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

Just ask nicely. Where I work, if somebody asks to have their photo taken down, we'll do it. I don't ask them why (I have privacy concerns of my own & don't have my photo on the website); I just remove it as quickly as possible. If you have to give a reason, "personal safety" and "online harassment" should be enough.
posted by belladonna at 5:37 AM on July 21, 2010

They cannot use your likeness in a commercial context without a signed release.

That's just not true. There are a wide variety of contexts in which this can happen, and advertising is different than simply identifying the fact that you work there. Implied consent is a real thing, and there's a good case to be made that the mere fact that you work for a company is not private information.

If you have special circumstances which suggest that the information should be kept private, that's one thing, but this isn't the sort of thing which even the courts care about protecting all that much. I'm afraid that simply not wanting your photo online at all without any specific reason for it is viewed by the courts as being paranoid. "Not liking the Internet" is not a sufficient reason to make ordinarily public facts private.

It's also worth asking whether this website is available to the public. It may not be.
posted by valkyryn at 5:43 AM on July 21, 2010

I know for our IBM intranet we were not required to post a photo because of legal concerns, though we were strongly encouraged to do so. I have a feeling the legality of publishing the photo is a bit murky, but if I were HR I would not want to press this in any way.
posted by xammerboy at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2010

In other words, if you get put into a corner, your best legal bet might be to say you're understanding is this is not legal. This is what lawyers do, argue about these things. I do know your company must provide you with a safe working environment, so specifically calling out harassment is a good idea.
posted by xammerboy at 8:02 AM on July 21, 2010

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