Electronic Monitoring: What you need to know

There are several reasons employers would want to monitor their employees, including:
• To ensure that employees are using business resources (Internet, e-mail, faxes, telephones, vehicles) for business purposes rather than for personal use;
• To protect valuable property from theft;
• To promote safety and minimize liability for employees' negligent acts; and
• To deter violence in the workplace by using video surveillance as evidence.
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Employee's perception. Employers should also consider the effect that an electronic monitoring policy may have on employee morale. Many employees view such policies as a matter of mistrust by the employer. Likewise, many employees feel that monitoring policies are invasive and that their privacy should be protected against such practices.
U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, provides for a right to personal privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)). The Supreme Court has found that this right is implicit in the First and Fourth Amendments' protection of the freedom to associate.
State protection of privacy. Many states have privacy provisions either directly in their constitutions or have enacted statutes protecting the right to personal privacy. The extent of the protection of such state laws varies from state to state.
Most state courts also recognize a common-law right to sue for “invasion of privacy.” This tort can take several forms; the one most relevant to this discussion is “intrusion upon seclusion,” which can apply to monitoring or eavesdropping deemed “offensive to a reasonable person.”
Private employers. Private employers are not subject to the prohibitions imposed by the federal ...

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