Magazine article HRMagazine

Can an Employer Use Employee Photographs for Marketing Purposes, Such as Company Brochures?

Magazine article HRMagazine

Can an Employer Use Employee Photographs for Marketing Purposes, Such as Company Brochures?

Article excerpt

There is no federal regulation that specifically prohibits an employer from using employee photos for business purposes, including marketing company products and services.

However, many states restrict the use of an individual's name, image, voice, photo or "likeness" for commercial purposes without the person's prior consent. These statutes are commonly known as "right-of-publicity" or "right-of-privacy" laws. Washington state and others address the topic under "unfair competition" or "personality rights" statutes. Employers should review laws in their states to ensure compliance.

Aside from any legal requirement, employers might still want to obtain an employee's consent prior to using his or her photo for commercial purposes. If they don't, workers might expect to be compensated for the use of their image or to receive favorable treatment.

Some employers ask employees to sign a general photo consent release at the onset of employment that allows photos to be used for ID badges or for internal recognition on the company's intranet. Employers should obtain separate written consent in advance each time an employee's photo will be used for marketing purposes. …

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