Employee monitoring technology is increasingly being used in the workplace. Before you install it, find out what the law says about its use.

  • Employers can use employee monitoring technology to keep track of their employees’ whereabouts and activities in real time.
  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is a federal law that allows employers to monitor employees’ oral and written communications under certain circumstances. Some state laws regulate this activity.
  • Transparency in employee monitoring is essential to increase employee safety and avoid lawsuits.
  • This article is aimed at employers who want to know how to implement an employee monitoring solution while avoiding legal issues.

There are many ways to improve workplace productivity, from eliminating distractions to automating technology. One of them is the use of monitoring and tracking software. Workplace privacy and employee tracking technologies have become widespread in recent years, especially as the rapid development of digital technology has made tracking platforms easier to use. If you are considering using this type of technology. It is crucial to know how federal and state laws affect you. Also, how to utilize these tools in your business best.

What Is Workplace Surveillance?

Employee monitoring refers to the methods employers use to monitor their employees’ workplace, location, and behavior. These techniques include time clocks, video surveillance, GPS devices, staff tracking software, and biometric technology. Video surveillance, for example, improves security and productivity in companies. If thieves are caught on camera, the cost of disruption will be reduced.

Employee track and trace systems serve other essential purposes. The primary objectives are to prevent internal theft, examine employee productivity, ensure the correct use of company resources and provide evidence in case of litigation.

Time management software, a type of employee monitoring technology, is often seen as a completely different tool. Time management systems record employees’ working hours and paid leave and are helpful for payroll purposes in case of a dispute over working hours or paid leave. It can also improve productivity by accurately recording the start and end of an employee’s day.

In addition to video surveillance in the workplace, you can install software on company computers to monitor employees. Or use GPS devices to track company vehicles if you provide transportation services.

Regardless of the technology, some managers are unsure how far they can or should extend their authority to monitor employee behavior. It is always best to refer to state and federal laws and regulations regarding employee monitoring and setting limits.

Employee Monitoring Laws and Regulations

Federal and most state data protection laws give employers leeway to determine how far they can go with their employee monitoring programs. In some cases, depending on state and local laws, employers are not required to inform employees that they are being monitored. Employee consent may be needed in specific circumstances.

Federal Workplace Privacy and Employee Surveillance Act

The Federal Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring Act are primarily modeled on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which allows management to monitor employee behavior. Monitoring of all oral and written communications. Additional monitoring may also be conducted with the employee’s consent. However, the consent provisions of the ECPA can be tricky, as they can be interpreted to allow monitoring of employees’ personal and business communications.

The federal court has ruled in numerous cases that an employer may lawfully inspect an employee’s emails after they have been sent. Indeed, the ECPA defines “electronic communication” as “any ongoing electronic communication.” Once these emails are sent, they become the employer can monitor an “electronic repository” that courts have held.

In general, the monitoring must be reasonable. For example, video surveillance of common areas and entrances is permitted, but video surveillance of bathrooms and locker rooms is strictly prohibited and may have legal consequences for businesses.

Another issue is the storage of meeting minutes. Suppose you record employee meetings, especially those involving disciplinary or personnel matters. In that case, you may be legally obligated to retain the recordings. And present them to the courts in case of a dispute.

Monitoring Computer Activity

Monitoring computer Internet activity is different and different precedents may apply. There are different types of employee pc monitoring software free, some of which can show exactly what employees are doing on their computers. It can offer everything from websites employees visit via the company’s Wi-Fi network to keystrokes they make on their laptops. Employees who use company devices have little expectation of privacy. So it’s best to assume that their employer can see anything an employee does on a company computer.

While there’s nothing wrong with monitoring computer use to ensure employees aren’t wasting time on social media or surfing unnecessarily, employers should be aware of the risk of having too much information. Employers already have a great deal of personal information about their employees, and sharing that information with third parties can violate privacy laws such as HIPAA.

As an employer, you are responsible for protecting this information. Even if it is an employee’s visit history or personal data stored on company computers. For example, if a breach occurs and sensitive information is disclosed. The company could be subject to legal action by that employee.

State Laws Regarding Workplace Privacy and Employee Surveillance

As with other regulations, no two states are alike regarding workplace privacy and employee surveillance laws. The most notable rules are in the following states.

– Connecticut: Companies conducting workplace monitoring of employees must provide employees with written notice and describe the monitoring methods used in detail.

– California, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina: The constitutions of these states state that residents have a right to privacy. Therefore, employers in these states should exercise caution when implementing employee tracking systems.

For security reasons, it is best to consult with an attorney. Ensure that the use of this technology complies with federal and state laws.

Tips for Explaining Video Surveillance to Employees

Video surveillance must not be communicated and agreed upon with staff. Making it visible that video surveillance cameras monitor the premises may be enough to meet legal and ethical standards. Simply knowing that the cameras are watching everything can prevent employee theft in many cases.

Transparency is always a good practice. Many employees feel uncomfortable being monitored. So it’s essential to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and how video surveillance aligns with your business goals: According to a Dtex Systems survey, “77 percent of working Americans say their employers are transparent about it, and they no longer have concerns about monitoring digital activity on personal or work devices, as long as they’re informed about it ahead of time.” This is a good thing.

After all, transparency can also make employees more willing to be exposed to various forms of surveillance and monitoring.

It’s clear that as technology advances, companies will have more and more opportunities to track and monitor their employees in new ways. In light of these new opportunities, business leaders must be responsive to their employees and meet legal requirements for employee monitoring.

As previously mentioned, employers can also monitor their employees through GPS tracking. This is often done as part of fleet tracking or telematics. Most fleet management software allows managers to track company vehicles and employees’ whereabouts, even when they are not working. Employers can do this because they have a right to know where their assets are. However, GPS tracking of company devices, such as laptops and cell phones, is another source of uncertainty, as employers may know more than they need to about their employees’ off-duty activities.

In the Last

Regardless of the form of employee monitoring used, the principles of transparency and balance must be respected. For example, a clearly stated company policy that discourages off-duty computer use may reduce undesirable behavior without explicitly monitoring employees.



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