Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring


Fact Sheet 7Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring

Employers want to be sure their employees are doing a good job, but employees don't want their every sneeze or trip to the water cooler logged. That's the essential conflict of workplace monitoring.

New technologies make it possible for employers to monitor many aspects of their employees' jobs, especially on telephones, computer terminals, through electronic and voice mail, and when employees are using the Internet. Such monitoring is virtually unregulated. Therefore, unless company policy specifically states otherwise (and even this is not assured), your employer may listen, watch and read most of your workplace communications.

Read our guide to learn more about workplace privacy issues.

Online Privacy FAQ


Fact Sheet 18aOnline Privacy FAQ

Can employers monitor your email at work?  How can you get your information removed from websites like Zabasearch and PeopleFinders?  What can you do if someone is pretending to be you on social networking sites like Myspace and Match.com? 

This FAQ answers some of the questions we are often asked by individuals who contact us concerning online privacy and safety.  Learn what you can do to protect your personal information when you use the Internet.

Privacy Rights of Employees Using Workplace Computers In California


Employers and employees are concerned about computers in the workplace.  Employers worry that employees waste time, such as by chatting or shopping on-line. [1]   Employers worry too that employees create liability by viewing and circulating pornographic, racist, or other improper material.

 Employees worry about their privacy.  Software, like Specter, SurfWatch, Eblaster, Telemate, Message Inspector, Silent Watch, Websense, Little Brother, and WinWhatWhere, allows the computer owner to monitor computer use. [2]   Some software allows the owner to check users' e-mail and Web destinations; some also allows viewing of entire e-mail messages, Web images, and word processing documents.  Moreover, most of this software can be installed without alerting the computer user. [3]

 The press has reported that employees have no privacy rights whatsoever when using their employers' computers and that employers can spy at will. [4]

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