Is Computer Monitoring Legal?


A lot of people often find themselves wondering whether or not computer monitoring is legal. There are many reasons why a company would want to monitor the computer use of their employees. Employers can gain a lot of valuable information from monitoring how their employees use their computer time. Employers can learn information like many keystrokes their employees are capable of. This can help a company measure how productivity their employees are. Computer monitoring can also help put a stop to employees misusing company time and resources.

Is Computer Monitoring a Violation of Employees’ Rights?

Many employees, however, feel that computer monitoring is very invasive. Computer monitoring is something that needs to be handled with care. If you are not careful, you could end up breaking state and federal laws. Computer monitoring is something that needs to be done delicately. Many employees feel that computer monitoring is a major invasion of their privacy, but this simply is not true. Employers have the right to monitor how employees are using company resources. Employers can monitor the use of company computers, phone lines, and email.

Any communications that are generated by the company can be monitored by the employer without breaking any laws. Your employer cannot monitor the use of any of your personal devices, but if you are using company equipment, time, or the company’s web services you can expect the information that is transferred to be monitored.

Can Employers Legally Monitor the Computer and Phone Usage of Employees?

Employers are not allowed to monitor any employee communications without consent. This consent can be verbal or written. If you are an employee that has not given their consent for phone calls, emails, or computer usage to be monitored, your rights may be violated. There are certain situations where an employer is able to able to monitor your computer use or email use without your verbal or written consent.

The business extension exception is included in the Wire Tap Act. As long as an employer has a legitimate business reason for monitoring computer usage and recording phone calls, they are completely within their legal rights to do so. This is important information to be aware of.

Tips to Remember When Monitoring Your Employees Computer Usage

Employers should be upfront with their employees about computer monitoring. Let your employees know why you are going to begin monitoring their computer usage. Make sure to get consent from each and every one of your employees. It is best to get consent in writing for all legal purposes. A verbal agreement can easily be broken. A written agreement or consent form is legally binding and will hold up if you should need to defend yourself legally. The following tips can help employers monitor their employees’ computer usage wisely.

  • Keep all monitoring and surveillance completely work related.
  • Be fair to your employees. Checking personal email once during the work day is a smaller infraction than spending multiple company hours a day surfing the web or goofing off.
  • Check the laws in your state to make sure that you are completely in compliance with all laws.

Carefully Monitor Your Employees

Computer monitoring is one business tool that should be used with caution. This is a practice that may be growing in popularity among companies, but it should only be used when there are legitimate reasons to do so. There are many benefits to using computer monitoring, but employers should be careful when doing so. Employees that are being monitored on their computers should make sure that they tend to business while at work and their personal life while at home.

Author Bio: Michael Clark is working at a company at a senior post. His work is to monitor employees and their work. Recently he has done a server audit for his employees.

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