Is It Legal To Record, Monitor, Or Videotape Employees At Work?
As an employer, you probably want to know that your employees are doing their jobs when they are on work time—that is, when you are paying them. Of course, it is also impossible for you to do your job, while also keeping your head over every single employee’s shoulder.
Computer Keystroke Monitoring
That’s why computer monitoring software has become so popular—particularly, software that tracks employee’s keystrokes.
Keystroke monitoring software is special software that tracks every keystroke that your employee makes on their work computer. Some are even advanced enough to take screenshots of what is on the employee’s screen, or even record through a webcam, all without the employee knowing that it is happening.
Many employers like the idea of using this kind of software, but have concerns about its legality, and over whether they are at risk of being sued by an employee who claims some kind of invasion of privacy.
Monitoring is Generally Legal
As a general rule, all of this monitoring software is legal, so long as your employee is using a work computer.
Nothing on an employee’s computer, whether related to special software or not, has any expectation of privacy. All of it is technically the property of the employer, and the employer has the right to track, record, and access anything on an employee’s computer.
Of course, the best advice to an employee is not to do anything on a work computer, that you would not want your boss finding out about.
Email and Phone Call Monitoring
You should be aware, however, that some states have varying laws about the monitoring of emails, especially when the email comes from a third party. In other words, your employee may be on a work computer, and thus, you have every right to monitor his or her emails—but Aunt Amy, who your employee is emailing, has nothing to do with your company, and you could have legal issues recording her, without her knowledge.
Additionally, some states do require that you get written consent from employees before monitoring emails. If your business has offices or employees in multiple states, you may want to ensure that you are complying with every state law where you have an employee.
The same goes with phone calls—while you are free to record your own employee’s phone calls, you will need the consent of the person on the other line to record phone calls. These laws differ from state to state.
Video monitoring is similar, and you generally are free to video record your employees. However, the use of sound with the video, will require consent (or at least disclosure).
Additionally, there are restrictions on video recording in private areas, such as restrooms. Like everything else, state laws differ—so if you have offices in different states, you may need to alter your procedures for each office to keep yourself out of trouble.
Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today to run your workplace effectively, and without legal problems.