TechCrunch reports: “When Florida-based Chetu hired a telemarketer in the Netherlands, the company demanded the employee turn on his webcam. The employee wasn’t happy with being monitored ‘for 9 hours per day,’ in a program that included screen-sharing and streaming his webcam. When he refused, he was fired, according to public court documents (in Dutch), for what the company stated was ‘refusal to work’ and ‘insubordination.’ The Dutch court didn’t agree, however, and ruled that “instructions to keep the webcam turned on is in conflict with the respect for the privacy of the workers’. In its verdict, the court goes so far as to suggest that demanding webcam surveillance is a human rights violation.”

Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.? “Sorry, I don’t feel like being monitored, so… no. I will not turn on my webcam for work.”

Too many hours, you say? Where’s the line? One hour per day? Four? Five? The implications for jurisdiction fascinated (and scared) me. Florida is a right-to-work state, and the plaintiff was an “at will” employee, meaning they can be fired for any reason whatsoever. The Netherlands has far stricter rules about both hiring and firing, and while it’s a Florida-based employer, the remote worker was in the Netherlands.

How many hours per day do you think you’d be comfortable being “monitored” for work?

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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