Is employer monitoring of employee email justified
Is employer Monitoring of employee email Justified? <br />
Did you know? <br />According to Dupree and Jude, from “Who’s Reading Your Office Email? Is That Legal?” said, 65% now use software to block connections to websites who’s images have no place in the workplace. <br />
Who is reading your office email? <br />I don’t know!!!<br />It is time you know your rights!<br />
Truth is you have zero privacy<br />The simple fact is that monitoring employee e-mail and Internet usage is legal under almost all circumstances. As a general rule, when an employee enters the workplace, an employer may monitor and record communications, including e-mail and Internet use, without notice to the employee. <br />
Here is an Example:<br />A supervisor emailed inappropriate comments to an employee at home, and the employee responded in kind. The e-mails were communicated over the company system. Regardless of the company assurances, the employee was terminated for communicating “inappropriate and unprofessional comments” via the company system. The court held that “once plaintiff communicated the alleged unprofessional comments to a second person over the email system that was apparently utilized by the entire company, any reasonable expectation of privacy was lost. ”<br />
E-mail is Easily Viewable<br />Employers can review e-mail at any time and with lightening speed. A company called Dow Chemical took a “snapshot” of a day’s worth of employee e-mails and then systematically sorted through them. Some 254 employees had saved, filed, or sent sexually related, violent, and other inappropriate e-mails. The actual participation and involvement of the employees varied considerably. Dow discharged 20 employees and disciplined others.<br />
Is this really necessary?<br />Yes, because as you can see, it makes your really boss angry.<br />
It’s the employers responsibly<br />On his watch he is responsible for illegal, discriminatory, or offensive communication that are transmitted over the system or viewed by others from a company computer screen. That includes Sexually explicit, graphically violent, or racially inappropriate websites open to view by co-workers may be used to support claims of discriminatory behavior or a hostile work environment. E-mails also containing the same material also have the same effect. <br />
Managers Beware<br /><ul><li> Managers can get in just as much trouble as their employees.
Employees can discover e-mails that contain corporate misconduct.
E-mails contain libelous or defamatory content. THESE E-MAILS SHOULD NOT BE SENT OR FORWARDED!
Even if you do save your e-mails they on a server or archived. </li></li></ul><li>E-mails are not like letters<br /><ul><li> Letters can’t be forwarded thousands of times.
If e-mails are overlooked it could become a foreign problem.
For example, if you send an e-mail, anyone can forward it. It can be sent anywhere. The employers are responsible for any content sent out. Even if it’s is sent to another country in which it arrives. There can be a legal battle. </li></li></ul><li>Copyrighted Material<br />(Google Images)<br />
Copyrights<br />Copyrighted material is not yours to share, especially not in an employers website without the knowledge or consent of a manager or supervisor. <br />The company could be responsible for any copyright infringment. <br />
Try to Avoid Surprises <br />“An employee took it upon himself to purchase CD’s containing copies of documents that we already had in our possession. It was easy. An e-mail arrived asking if he would be willing to share the cost of obtaining copies of documents. All he had to do was return an e-mail agreeing to participate in the project. Instead an invoice for several thousand dollars arrived at our office. There was no correspondence in the files authorizing the purchase. Ultimately, though, we found a brief e-mail from our employee responding to the...<br />
Avoiding Surprises <br />...the inquiry. The reply e-mail simply said, “count us in.” Of course, the company that provided the service wanted it’s money. After all, they had spend time and effort preparing the materials for us. We were stuck. If our office had monitored e-mails we could have caught this and stopped the expensive and wasteful process before the vendor incurred its costs.” <br />
Productive Communication vs. Personal Communication<br />To do list at work: <br />E-mail buddies about how funny Chad's hair looks today.<br />Facebook and comment on friends walls.<br />Buy Justin Beiber tickets on-line (going fast).<br />Send whole office a link to the funniest Youtube video I just found.<br />Do you see how we are not being productive at work? <br />
Summary of the “Yes”<br />Employers have the right, even a duty, to protect the corporation from legal liability incurred by the careless action of their employees. The use of e-mail from the employer’s computer can get the company into worlds of trouble, and the company must monitor that e-mail. <br />
The “No” of E-mail Monitoring<br />USA Today article uses we the people tone. The article doesn’t agree someone has the right to read e-mails except it be the writer or the intended recipient. <br />
Concern with E-mail monitoring<br />USA Today says 2001, three-quarters of US business electronically monitor employees in some fashion. <br />Companies need to keep pace with free willing communication technology in the internet age.<br />Now a fact of workplace life. <br />
What is being monitored? <br />63% Internet<br />43% Tracked Telephones<br />19% Key Strokes & time logged in<br />38% Video Surveillance<br />A quarter of these companies fire people for misuse of company technology. <br />Three quarters have disciplined people.<br />
Privacy<br />“People act as if they have privacy protection. They don’t stop to think they are under scrutiny,” said Stewart Baker, head of technology law practice at Washington DC. “Surprisingly for such a law-happy society, there are few limits on what employers can do in the electronic age with respect to the privacy of their employees.”<br />
Problems with Privacy<br />Consultants advise companies to use notice as a way to “get over employees’ expectation of privacy,” which is an issue of social etiquette rather a legal one. <br />Laws on wiretapping but not on voicemail, e-mail, or the internet in the workplace. (New that cell phone companies require compliance to be able to wiretap network. New York Times.)<br />
Struggle for Balance with Technology<br />The internet is a powerful distraction. <br />“The very definition of what is private is up for grabs as lines blur between working hours, personal time and home life. What privacy rights do employees have when working on employer-supplied laptops from home, for example?”<br />
“Employers are much more aware and much more nervous about productivity, legality and security, and these issues are behind the increase.”<br />
Corporate Litigation <br />“Emails and voicemails are frequently the smoking guns in corporate litigation. Standard operating procedure for any plaintiff’s attorney in a corporate legal battle is to demand production of electronic records.”<br />
Big Brother Does Rest<br />Monitoring is not done 24/7. Obviously because limitations of time and financial recourses prevent this from being monitored all the time. <br />
Summary of the “No”<br />In the opinion of the USA Today the substantial body of opinion in the country is e-mail is like any other mail, an no one has the right to read it except the writer and the intended recipient. The goes for employers, too. <br />
Suggestions<br />Learn how to save all your e-mails, voicemails, and text messages. <br />Never send libelous or defamatory content. <br />Use Google Voice. It transcribes your voicemails into text and saves the audio.<br />Make a clear time for work and personal time. <br />
THE END<br />P.S. Add me on Facebook, Parker Donat<br />And follow me on Twitter @parkerdonat<br />
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