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Monitoring Employees without Violating Their Privacy Rights

Employee monitoring is a must and should for every organization and with the advancement of technology, it is now easier than ever. However, if technology is used without discretion, you will cross some privacy boundaries which should not be crossed. Online privacy is a very big issue these days and the employees can take strict action against you if you overstep the privacy boundaries. There is software that allows you track the employees even if they take measures not to be tracked by using tools that stop cookies/tracking online. This article will help you in defining the privacy boundaries and ensuring that you are safe when it comes to monitoring your employees’ online activities at work.

Personal Privacy v/s Professional Privacy

There is a law that states when employees are using the resources of the organization, they should involve in activities related to the organization only. If they involve in personal activities, they cannot expect their privacy to be upheld. This law will hold good in both state and federal courts. This law has been drafted because the employers have a right to monitor their employees and punish them if they are indulging in any personal or other activities that consume working hours. There have been examples of where employees have dragged the employers into court for privacy violations and the employer emerging unscathed at the end.

If you are an employee, you should remember that the employer has invested in you and has a right to monitor you. So, make sure that you keep your personal activities out of official resources.

Sophisticated Software Make it Harder for Employers to Ensure Privacy is Not Violated

If you are an employer, you will be aware of how sophisticated the employee monitoring software is. It will not only give you a log of all the activities but also collects so much data that you can reconstruct every keystroke of your employee. This might cause a few problems when it comes to privacy matters. For example, consider an employee who has been given a laptop by the company. As per the company rules, the monitoring software is embedded in the laptop.

When the employee is not in the office, he/she might use the laptop for personal activities. This is not exactly wrong or prohibited. However, the software is not a tool with a conscience and will dutifully record all those actions and relay it to the person in charge. That person might use it for good or wrong reasons. When it comes to lawsuits, it is the company’s reputation that suffers.

Employers Must Enforce Strict Policies on Employee Tracking

One of the solutions for this problem is that you can make sure that the person in charge of monitoring will not be aware of the identity of the person who seems to have involved in suspicious activity. You can configure the software in a way that each employee is assigned a code which is only known to a few people and if the monitoring team finds a particular code (or IP address) involving in suspicious activity, they file a report and the top level management investigates it further. This is one of the few such methods which will ensure that you try your best to ensure employees’ privacy.

The Law is has a Few Loopholes

Another thing you must keep in mind as an employer is that the law is not perfect. If you hire a good lawyer, he/she can identify loopholes which will make you the culprit even if the employee is at fault. Try to take legal advice before proceeding further into investigating suspicious activity as that will help you in case you will have to file a lawsuit against the employee and you will remain within legal realms.

Categories: Our Products
  1. August 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    thanks for this article – I am building a software right now that I have been researching exactly what you are discussing – http://www.hubstaff.com is what I am building

  2. Jim
    September 3, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I agree! Many times before I think about using a monitoring software to track my employees but I was somehow concerned about their privacy, I need them first to fully understand the purpose of using it. But with the help of the board we have agreed to install it on their PCs and it was worth using a software that really fits in your business. We were just trying a 30-day trial with Time Doctor but later on we have decided to buy their business package as it has unique features that most of my employees love to use.

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