15 Most Asked Questions about Employee Monitoring Laws
Today companies all over the world are using Employee Monitoring Software. It is proven that employee monitoring boosts productivity and simplifies the whole management process. Employers and employees alike reap the benefits of deploying employee monitoring software.
But have you ever thought about the legal aspects of employee monitoring?
- Is employee monitoring legal?
- What can be legally considered as employee monitoring?
- Can a company’s computers be monitored legally?
- Can employee internet and social media activities be monitored legally?
- Can screen contents and keystrokes be monitored legally?
- Can email content be monitored legally?
- Can phone conversations be recorded legally?
- Can video monitoring systems be used legally in the workplace?
- Can the private messages and email content of an employee be monitored legally?
- Can employee’s personal devices be monitored legally?
- Can employee’s personal computers be monitored legally?
- Is it legally required to notify employees of the monitoring?
- Are there employee monitoring laws in the USA?
- What are the employee monitoring laws in the European Union?
- What are the employee monitoring laws in India?
Let’s have a look at the answers to all these questions. Here are the 15 Most Enquired Questions about Employee Monitoring Laws.
1. Is employee monitoring legal?
In most countries, companies have the liberty to monitor their employees. Some companies have created their own rules requiring permission from their workers, and in some companies, employees can even be monitored without asking for consent. There are no legal obligations required by employers to notify or reveal to their workers that they are under surveillance.
2. What can be legally considered as employee monitoring?
Employees are monitored in different ways depending on their nature of work. Any form of surveilling workers and the way they work can be considered as employee monitoring. Depending on the style of monitoring, it can help protect the company’s assets, ensure rules are followed, boost productivity, etc…
Some of the most common methods of employee monitoring are:
- Network monitoring
- Email monitoring
- Call monitoring
- Employee monitoring software
3. Can a company’s computers be monitored legally?
Yes, it is. The law authorizes the employer to monitor computers owned by the company. According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, if a company offers a system to its employees, it is still considered company property. An employer has all the claims to monitor what is done by employees on it. This comprises downloads, files and documents, idle and active time, and internet use. And, if any company property is being used remotely, it can be suitably monitored.
4. Can employee internet and social media activities be monitored legally?
Yes. Employees are sometimes required to use the internet and social media for work-related purposes. But, this can lead to employees being distracted and loafing on the internet. The law allows companies to monitor their employees’ internet activities such as the time consumed online, sites visited, and restrict certain websites and apps. Many companies deploy social media and internet policies that restrict employees from indulging in any kind of social media or internet activities that are not allowed during office hours.
5. Can screen contents and keystrokes be monitored legally?
Yes. In most countries, it is legal for employers to monitor their employee’s screens and keystrokes. If there is a well-documented workplace policy in a company, then the company can access whatever a worker does on their company systems.
6.Can email content be monitored legally?
Employers can legally monitor their employees’ mails. Any mail sent or received from an office computer comes under the property of the company and it can be inspected by the employer at any time.
7. Can phone conversations be recorded legally?
If the employee is using an office phone, then it is legal for employers to monitor and/or record phone conversations. Companies are authorized to monitor the use of office systems if there is a valid purpose behind it.
9. Can the private messages and email content of an employee be monitored legally?
Employers have the liberty to keep an eye on company systems, including sent or received private emails. If the employer owns the system or the network, they are authorized to check if workers are accessing their personal mail while working. A transparent policy that describes the conditions of the use of work equipment should be presented, and workers must be conscious of the policy.
10. Can employee’s personal devices be monitored legally?
In situations where employees work on personal devices, employers are allowed to monitor those devices during working hours. Although, the consent of the employee must be received. Also, companies have to define the extent of monitoring on personal devices. It is prohibited any to access, copy, or download data without the owner’s consent.
11. Can employee’s personal computers be monitored legally?
As mentioned in the previous question, an employer can monitor an employee’s personal computer if permission has been received or a well-defined bring your device to work(BYOD) policy that authorizes the monitoring of an employee’s personal devices used for work is established.
12. Is it legally required to notify employees of the monitoring?
Although it is not legally required in some countries, companies should notify their employees about the kind and degree of monitoring they are under. Employees must be protected from misuse of monitoring. It is essential to get written consent from employees beforehand.
13. Are there employee monitoring laws in the USA?
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and the common law on security against the invasion of privacy, has limited workplace monitoring in the US to a certain degree. The ECPA has prohibited the voluntary interception of oral, wire, and electronic communication. Some exceptions also apply to this prohibition. One such exception is the Business Motive Exception that permits employers to monitor their employees if done only for genuine business reasons. There is no federal law in the USA that requires managers to inform their employees that they are being monitored.
14. What are the employee monitoring laws in the European Union?
Things are a lot different in the European Union. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled employers must give notice to workers prior to monitoring their activities. Not only are companies required to notify their employees about monitoring, but emails and keystrokes can only be tracked in the existence of a documented agreement.
15. What are the employee monitoring laws in India?
According to the Indian Employment and Labour Law, the company has the license to monitor employee activities, work-related emails, SIM cards, and computers. This is to ensure the security of the company’s confidential and sensitive information. If the monitoring carries on beyond company premises, or if it’s perceived to be a breach of employees’ right to privacy, the employer might be required to justify their actions.
These were the 15 Most Enquired Questions about Employee Monitoring Laws. The legal aspects of employee monitoring vary according to countries. There should be a balance between the business interests of the company and the employee’s privacy. Both the legal and ethical perspectives of employee monitoring are significant.
Deploying an employee time and productivity tracking software like Desklog is considered an effective method. Desklog helps in maintaining a healthy balance between the employer’s business interests and employee privacy.