CAN EMPLOYEES MONITOR EMPLOYEES WHO WORK FROM HOME DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS?

To ensure employees do what they’re supposed to, some employers have begun using surveillance apps and programs to monitor worker productivity.  This has raised some worker privacy concerns and the questions of whether this is legal or proper.  Employers have been monitoring employees since the dawn of the employer-employee relationship. In the Internet age, with the ubiquity of laptops, tablets and smartphones, what the employer can do has gone up a notch.  Employers can keep track of what employees type, record internet activity, take screenshots, and use the company-owned device’s webcam.  As a general rule, when using your employer’s equipment while on your employer’s network, your employer will have the right to monitor what you do. If you’re on your own device and using your own Internet connection, it’s less likely to be legal if your employer monitors you, although it still is often perfectly legal. Employees in some states may have slightly more employee privacy protections.  For example, some states, like Maryland, Illinois and California have “all-consent” or “two-party consent” laws that require everyone involved in an electronic communication or telephone call to consent to the monitoring.  A few states require employers to give notice to employees before monitoring can take place. Connecticut and Delaware are two such states with specific laws on the books, although Connecticut’s law might not apply when the employee is working from home.  The bottom line: most employers can legally monitor what you do while working as long as it’s for legitimate business purposes or they have your consent. If you decide to engage in personal activities during business hours, you will usually do so at your own risk.  Read More >>

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