Any business worth their salt tries to maximize profitability. When criminal employees steal money, products or time and an employer gets burned, they usually don’t want it to happen again. Thusly, it’s becoming more common to see employers put different forms of surveillance in place.
These practices are often invasive and considered offensive to good employees that are just trying to do their jobs, but most techniques in popular use are perfectly legal. If you’re concerned about your privacy, and your employer has you and other employees under surveillance, you should be familiar with what’s legal and what is not.
Here’s a brief overview of what is allowed under the scope of legal workplace surveillance.
GPS on company vehicles
If your company has a fleet of corporate vehicles, it’s within your employer’s rights to put a GPS tracker on them. This will allow the company to keep track of where all of the vehicles in the fleet are at any time. This is not only a surveillance technique, but also a security practice. If one of these vehicles is stolen, your company can work with the police to track the vehicle and recover it.
If your employer is concerned that some employees might be misappropriating company resources, they can keep track of where fleet vehicles are taken. Are they being checked out for company business, or for personal errands? A GPS tracker can tell them if you took a vehicle directly to and from a client’s site or if you took a detour to run some errands of your own.
Keylogging on your company computer
If your employer has a keylogging program installed on your computer, they’ll be able to capture all of the keystrokes you make. That includes any and all passwords you enter while you’re on that computer.
If you suspect that your employer has implemented this kind of software on your computer, you may have some limited recourse through the Federal Wiretap Act, Stored Information Act, and some individual state laws. However, to be completely safe, you’ll want to refrain from visiting social media sites, banking sites, and other sites that require personal passwords.
If you’re talking on a company cell phone, don’t assume that your conversation or your texts are private. In most states, employers have the right to monitor the use of any and all devices that they own. This includes everything from company cars to cell phones and photocopiers. If you’re using company resources in any way that’s not related to your job, your boss has the right to fire you. So be careful with office supplies and personal calls. They could be recorded.
This may not seem fair but in some states your employer can fire you for how you conduct yourself when you’re off-duty.
Some states allow employers to perform monitoring of employees after they leave work. This could include monitoring your social media use, recreational drug use, or even social drinking. In right-to-work states, you can be fired for any reason your employer deems appropriate.
Can you fight back?
If you’re concerned that your employer is invading your privacy, give us a call.
We’re more than qualified to walk you through legal and illegal surveillance techniques. We can help you determine whether or not you’ve been violated and what recourse you may have against your employer. The answer may be to find a more relaxed company to work for, or you may have a legal case against your boss.