Employer Monitoring Practices and Employee's Right Privacy
Can My Employer Monitor My Phone Calls at Work?
Generally, as long as the employer is monitoring the phone conversation between an employee and a client or customer for quality control, the employer is within its right to have such a practice. However, even though federal law does not require that the people on the phone be told that their conversation is being monitored, many state laws require that such an announcement be made at the beginning of the phone call. An employer usually is not allowed to listen in on an employee's personal phone calls. As soon as the employer realizes the employee is having a conversation of a personal nature, the employer must quit monitoring the conversation. The only exception to this is that an employer may be able to monitor a little more of the conversation if it has already warned the employee not to make personal calls from work.
Can My Employer Listen to My Work Voicemail?
It depends on the circumstances under which your employer would want to listen to your voicemail. First of all, if an employer plans on monitoring the voicemail of its employees, it should make no indication or lead the employees to believe that their voicemail is private. In fact, just to be safe an employer would probably want to disclose to its employees that it has the right to listen to any employee's work voicemail. Second, the employer should have a sound, work-related reason for monitoring employees' voicemail. It should not be some arbitrary process by which an employer just decides that it will go through its employees' voicemail for general amusement, or some other random reason.
Can My Employer Read Through My E-mail?
Like voicemail, an employer generally has the right to go through an employee¿s e-mail as long as the employer has not lead employees to believe that their e-mail would be completely private.
Can My Employer Monitor My Internet Use?
Yes. Employers may monitor the sites an employee has been visiting, and may even install software into an employee's computer to prevent the employee from looking at certain sites or limiting the time an employee can spend on any sites.
What Should I Do if I Think My Employer Violated My Right to Privacy Through Improper Monitoring Practices?
Your employer should have a policy about monitoring employees and should only do it under reasonable, business-related circumstances. If you feel your employer has gone overboard with their monitoring practices and as a result your right to privacy has been violated, you may want to consult an attorney specializing in employment law. Your attorney will be able to advise you as to your rights and let you know if you may be entitled to money damages in a lawsuit against your employer.
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Last Modified: 06-07-2012 04:33 PM PDT