Employee monitoring involves the use of computers to observe, record, and review an employee's use of a computer, including communications such as email, keyboard activity (used to measure productivity), and Web sites visited. Many computer programs exist that easily allow companies to monitor employees. Further, it is legal for companies to use these programs.
A frequently debated matter is whether an employer has the right to read employee email messages. Actual policies vary widely. Some companies declare that they will review e-mail messages regularly; others state that e-mail messages are private. If a company does not have a format e-mail policy, it can read e-mail messages without employee notification. One recent survey discovered that more than 73 percent of companies search and/or read employee files, voice mail, e-mail messages, Web connections, and other networking communications. Another claimed that 25 percent of companies have fired employees for misusing communications technology.
Currently, no privacy laws exist relating to employee e-mail (Privacy Laws and Personal Data). The 1986 Electronic Communication Privacy Act provides the same right of privacy protection that covers the postal delivery service and telephone companies to various forms of electronic communications, such as e-mail, voice mail, and cellular telephones. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, however, does not cover communications within a company. This is because any piece of mail sent from an employer's computer is considered company property. Several lawsuits have been filed against companies because many people believe that such internal employee communications should be private (Slobovnik and Stuart 144-160).
Lang, Stefanie. "The New Invasion: Employee Monitoring and Privacy Issues." Technology Issues Aug. 2005: 33-45. Privacy Laws and Personal Data. Shelly Cashman Series®. Course Technology. 3 Aug. 2005....
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