Is Your Employer Remotely Monitoring You?
Regarding a company’s rights to monitor employees, this depends on how it’s carried out. You should refer to your employee handbook or onboarding forms to understand its scope and see how intrusive its monitoring might be.
With remote work and BYOD policies on the rise, it’s increasingly important to keep your personal and professional lives distinct – yet employers still use tools to monitor activity on your account.
What Can Your Employer Monitor?
Working remotely blurs the line between work and personal activities, as employees increasingly use personal devices and networks alongside those belonging to their employer. Your employer has access to many monitoring tools – instant messaging apps which display whether or not you are active; keystroke logging software; GPS tracking devices which track employee locations – in order to monitor anything you do while connected to their network.
Laws surrounding employee monitoring vary by state, but generally speaking it’s legal for employers to monitor most aspects of an employee’s activity as long as there is a reasonable business interest in doing so. This includes monitoring text messages and phone calls as well as using tracking software on company-issued devices and even storing employee data on servers or cloud storage systems owned by their employer.
Although workplace monitoring is generally legal, a growing trend among companies to spy on remote workers could constitute spying. Connecticut, New York, Texas and Delaware each have laws requiring employers to provide notice and gain consent before incorporating spying technology into an employee’s workflow – otherwise they risk legal action for breach of privacy rights of their employee(s).
Can Your Employer Monitor Your Email?
Although your employer may seem intrusive, most courts have upheld their right to monitor employee email. This is particularly true if an employee agrees by signing an employee handbook or employment contract. If you feel concerned that they’re spying on you when working remotely, speak up! Expressing your worries directly may help address them more efficiently and create peace.
Certain states do require employers to notify workers when their electronic activity is being monitored; Connecticut and Delaware both have laws in place that mandate this notification process; however, these are exceptions rather than standards.
Ideally, when working remotely you should use either personal equipment or refrain from accessing company-owned devices for nonwork-related activities. Furthermore, avoid sending any confidential data through work computers unless necessary. If you feel your employer has violated your rights when it comes to privacy protection then contact an employee privacy rights lawyer immediately so they can review your case and help explore your legal options.
Can Your Employer Monitor Your Social Media?
Anxious employers are turning to monitoring software and other surveillance tools in an attempt to keep track of worker productivity during the coronavirus pandemic, raising privacy concerns but wondering whether such measures are legal?
Employers typically allow employers to monitor employees’ use of employer-provided equipment and networks, including typing habits, file opens, and websites visited. However, monitoring personal social media accounts would violate employee privacy as well as federal law.
If an employee’s social media accounts are business related, their employer can monitor them with full transparency and consent. Employers usually only listen into work-related phone calls if using a business phone and network – however once subjected to monitoring it can become difficult for employees to trust their employers again.
Employers should always disclose any monitoring practices prior to hiring a remote employee and ensure that the employee understands why these practices are necessary. Furthermore, an employer should only monitor accounts and devices that belong to their business and not that of individual employees; otherwise spy tracking claims could arise and lead to costly litigation issues.
Can Your Employer Monitor Your Internet Browsing?
Your employer may require you to consent to monitoring of your internet use while at work, to make sure that you’re not browsing social media or watching YouTube videos while supposed to be doing actual work. Therefore, it’s crucial that you investigate their policies prior to agreeing to use personal devices or the BOYD program.
Employers can monitor what you are doing online through computer software that logs your activity. These programs can show which websites you visit, how long you spend on each, and what content is being consumed – such as shopping at Amazon or searching for information regarding nudity and violence. They can also show which programs are most frequently utilized throughout a day as well as the number of keystrokes made per minute.
Monitoring can be intrusive and stress-inducing for employees. If you feel that your employer is violating your privacy while at work, consult an experienced employment attorney about your rights and what steps can be taken next.