Key logging , or keystroke logging, is a process that records the keys a user is typing on the keyboard in order . These programs can also capture screenshots when triggered by predefined keywords. Some see it as violating workplace privacy and it's also notorious for being used with malicious intent. Loggers collect and store passwords, bank account information, private messages, credit card numbers, PIN numbers, and usernames.
Employee monitoring often is in conflict with employees' privacy. Monitoring in the workplace may put employers and employees at odds because both sides are trying to protect personal interests. Employees want to maintain their privacy while employers want to ensure company resources aren't misused. In any case, companies can maintain ethical monitoring policies by avoiding indiscriminate monitoring of employees' activities.
With employee monitoring, there are many guidelines that one must follow and put in place to protect the company and the individual. Some following cases are ones that have shaped the certain rules and regulations that are in effect today. For instance, in Canada, it is illegal to perform invasive monitoring, such as reading an employee's emails, unless it can be shown that it is a necessary precaution and there are no other alternatives.
The state of California requires that the monitored conversations have a beep at certain intervals or there must be a message informing the caller that the conversations may be recorded. However, this does not inform the company representative which calls are being recorded. Other states, including Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Jersey have laws relating to when a conversation can be recorded.
Is it Legal and Ethical To Use Employee Computer Monitoring Software?
They will announce this during new hire orientation, in a staff meeting, or even in a workplace contract that employees sign either at the time of hire or after a form of misconduct. Businesses use employee monitoring for various reasons. The follow is a list that includes, but is not limited to:. According to Computer Monitoring: The Hidden War Of Control,"The employer of today has the ability and legal right to read e-mail, review files stored on a company computer, examine computer usage, and track individual employee computer activities.
The idea of anonymous actions is an illusion. Every action between a network and the computers connected to it can be tracked. Every action by an individual worker on a computer can be tracked, analyzed and used against the employee. The protections and freedoms guaranteed by the U. The employee Mr. A year later, in July , German court also ruled that computer monitoring of employees is reasonable but the use of keylogging software is excessive . Employee monitoring software developers warn that in each case it is still recommended to advise a legal representative and the employees should give a written agreement with such monitoring  Majority of instances are a case by case situation and is hard to treat all the issues and problems as one.
With the ever growing laws, employers shape their guidelines around the new rules and regulations that are formed in court cases. Employee Monitoring can be used to monitor the safety and productivity of the employees but it also may help businesses financially.
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From the dishonest unethical employee who steals time and money from the business to the redefining of unprofitable processes in monitoring employee actions, employee monitoring allows for the growth of financial profits from a small investment. The monitoring of employees can help in the protection of employees and it can help as protection in litigation by employees for job-related issues such as failing to perform, illegal activities and harassment claims.
An indirect way that companies can be affected financially through employee monitoring is that they can be sure they are billing clients correctly.
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According to "Business 2 Community", inaccurately billing clients is very possible because of the human error. These inaccuracies can cause a dispute between a company and a client which could eventually lead to the client terminating its business with the company. This sort of termination will not only hurt the company's revenue stream but also its reputation with other clients or potential clients. The suggested solution to this problem is a time tracking software to correctly monitor the number of hours a client spends with an employee. Johnathan Yerby said, "The enormity of potential productivity loses, as reported by Court , is approximately one million dollars annually for a company with employees surfing the Internet for just a half hour a day.
This is used a lot during the Holidays with online shopping, as well as during March Madness. Employees will spend their time using their work time for personal uses and employee monitoring helps regulate this. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. An important exception is made for personal calls. Under federal case law, when an employer realizes the call is personal, he or she must immediately stop monitoring the call. Watkins v. However, when employees are told not to make personal calls from specified business phones, the employee then takes the risk that calls on those phones may be monitored.
Generally, your employer may monitor your use of any employer-provided mobile phone or device. Monitoring apps can secretly record your text messages, email, Internet usage, location, contacts, call logs, photos and videos. Some employers allow employees to use their own personal mobile devices for work purposes, either instead of or in addition to employer-provided devices. This is often referred to as bring your own device BYOD.
BYOD programs pose great challenges in balancing the security of employer data and protecting employee privacy. The law concerning employee rights when they use their own devices is emerging as more employees use the same mobile devices for both work and personal purposes. This means legal issues are less likely to have clear cut answers. Video monitoring is a commonly used method for deterring theft, maintaining security and monitoring employees. Federal law does not prevent video monitoring even when the employee does not know or consent to being monitored. In some instances, courts have upheld employee privacy.
Specifically, some courts have sided with employee privacy in instances where the monitoring has been physically invasive, such as hidden cameras in a locker room or bathroom. Some state laws may have restrictions on where, how and why an employer may videotape employees. Labor unions may negotiate limitations on video recordings of unionized workers. Union members should speak with a union representative if they have concerns about workplace video monitoring.
Video cameras that also capture audio recordings may be subject to laws relating to audio recording, including wiretap and eavesdropping laws. Federal law does not prohibit audio recording of phone conversations as long as one party on the call consents to recording. Most states have extended this law to include recording in-person conversations.
Some states have laws that require that all parties in a conversation consent to audio recording. For a state-specific guideline of laws regarding audio recording, visit Can We Tape? While few courts have addressed GPS tracking, most have held that employers may use GPS tracking devices on company-owned equipment, where the employee does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
California, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Texas, have laws preventing the use of mobile tracking devices in order to track other individuals.
Employee Monitoring Software - See All Employee Activity
However, these statutes do not apply to installing GPS devices in employer-owned vehicles. Some employers may use cell phone tracking to monitor employee location. Employers generally may open mail addressed to you at your workplace. Although Federal law prohibits mail obstruction, mail is considered delivered when it reaches the workplace. All mail addressed to a governmental or nongovernmental organization or to an individual by name or title at the address of the organization is delivered to the organization, as is similarly addressed mail for former officials, employees, contractors, agents, etc.
If disagreement arises where any such mail should be delivered, it must be delivered under the order of the organization's president or equivalent official. Accordingly, an employer does not violate the law by opening an employee's personal mail addressed to the employee at the employer's address. After USPS delivers the mail to your employer, it's up to the organization to decide how to distribute it. For example, a mail room employee might be authorized to open all mail before sorting and delivering it.
This includes any mail marked "personal" or "confidential" for a specific employee. There could be certain limited situations in which opening and reading an employee's mail might be considered an invasion of privacy. These situations would be very fact-specific and guided by common law principles of tort law.
Employees should consult an attorney for guidance. Many companies have social media policies that limit what you can and cannot post on social networking sites about your employer.
Online computer monitoring
Some states have laws that prohibit employers from disciplining an employee based on off-duty activity on social networking sites, unless the activity can be shown to damage the company in some way. In general, posts that are work-related have the potential to cause the company damage.
Anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from disciplining employees based on age, race, color, religion, national origin or gender.
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The NLRB has indicated that these cases are extremely fact-specific. It has provided the following general guidance:. Several states have enacted legislation protecting employees or job applicants from employers that require them to provide a user name or password for a social media account. Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring.