Employers Should Be Very Careful

For example, this is not a policy that you should want to hide from your employees.  But rather employers should let their employees know either thru their employee handbook or a non-expectation of privacy policy form that the employee signs.

Failing to take this step could give rise to some issues concerning the employee’s right to privacy.

Every employer who wants to engage in employee monitoring in the workplace should have a non-expectation of privacy policy in their employee handbook.

Employers will usually monitor the following items.

  • The workplace itself thru surveillance cameras and video cameras
  • Computers
  • Company phones
  • Company bought cell phones
  • Emails
  • Internet activity

While it is the right to monitor these things, employers need to understand that the way that the companies choose to handle this topic can either be positive or negative.  Employers need to keep in mind that production will decrease if the employees feel as though every single action that they do is being spied on.

Be careful with the information you find while monitoring your employees in the workplace.

For example, let’s say that you find an email that your employee has sent out from a company computer that lets you know that they are facing serious credit issues that could include the foreclosing of their home.
You may now give serious consideration the termination of this employee sensing that the employee production will decrease as this event moves forward.  If you terminate that employee based on information you find while you are practicing employee monitoring in the workplace could very well be considered discrimination or at the very least a wrongful termination.

Such actions could not only cost the company thousands of dollars but could also cost the employer credibility with other employees.

Personal Accounts

Employers have been found to be in violation of the law concerning privacy rights when viewing activates of the employees even though the acts of the employee were done on company computers during business hours.

Employees have the right at lunch and break times to use that time as they see fit.  So, as an employer pay attention to what you see and find.  Remember you don’t want to destroy the company morale you just want to make sure that the workplace is as productive as it can be.

Viewing Illegal Activity

This can be a very touchy subject.  One of the things that you can do to prevent criminal activity in the workplace is to make sure that employees know exactly what is being monitored in the workplace.

It is also wise to remind employees annually that employee monitoring in the workplace is ongoing thus helping employees to think twice.  This could be of great benefit to you as the employer and the employee making this a win, win situation.


CES Today can help you with this and other California Labor Laws, and Cal-OSHA matters.  We have been helping employers since 1997.  I would strongly encourage you to have your employee handbook updated to make sure that you have the necessary social media, and non-expectation of privacy policies in place.


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We will quickly assess your employee handbook and your safety program.  We will help you to see how you are doing with your compliance issues.  Everything we cover will be backed up by documentation.