A Pennsylvania worker fell at work and fractured his right hand. He sought workers' compensation benefits, but the employer contested the claim. The employer's workers' compensation carrier hired the defendant investigation firm to perform surveillance on the worker. An investigator observed the worker as he stood inside an Islamic Center near a window and prayed. The investigator stood some 80 yards away and for 45 minutes videotaped the worker by means of a zoom lens. After the videotape was shown to a workers' compensation judge, the worker filed a tort action alleging invasion of privacy against the investigation firm. A court of common pleas granted the defendant summary judgment and dismissed the case. The worker appealed.
Here's what the Pennsylvania court decided:
In Tagouma v. Investigative Consultant Servs., Inc., 2010 PA Super 147, 2010 Pa. Super. LEXIS 2099 (July 23, 2010), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania agreed with the trial court, indicating that the worker failed to show that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy while praying, that he had a diminished expectation of privacy based upon his filing the workers' compensation claim, and that the Islamic Center was open to the public and the worker prayed directly in front of a large window. The court also indicated that the use of the telephoto lens was not unreasonable nor was it intrusive. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 127.10.