Employee Monitoring Laws: Are Employers Allowed to Monitor Employee Personal Devices?
The modern trend of getting done one’s responsibilities on-the-go gets impossible without personal electronic devices usage for work. No matter how mobile and schedule-flexible this allows employees to perform, the risks of corporate security are still high: employees may lose their devices or just use untrusted software to store corporate data. Employee monitoring practices help to avoid corporate data breaches and inappropriate employee behavior. However, both employers and employees tend to raise a question on BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) monitoring practices legality:
Are employers allowed to monitor employee personal devices?
Barrister Ben Williams, a member of the Employment team at Kings Chambers, UK, states about EU laws that your employer is legally entitled to monitor a number of activities while you are in the workplace and that includes checking work-related emails, reviewing your Internet usage and telephone log.
E-mails and messages sent on behalf of a company are subjects to monitoring even if personal devices have been used.
Similarly, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit US corporation, highlights that messages sent within the company as well as those that are sent from the company’s terminal to another company or from another company to an employee’s device can be subject to monitoring by the employer. This may include web-based email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoo as well as instant messages.
BYOD monitoring should be authorized, i.e. a communicated one and based on a written employee consent.
Providing that various laws prohibit unauthorized access to electronic communications and invasion of employee privacy, personal devices monitoring practices are suggested to be employee authorized. Authorized access means a communicated monitoring practice, which eliminates privacy expectations by employees. Moreover, personal electronic devices’ monitoring should be reasonable, i.e. coherent to business goals of the company and relevant to adopted BYOD policy.
BYOD policy that includes monitoring practice protects both employers and employees.
Given that, during working hours it is considered to be a reasonable demand for an employer to check business-related correspondence and Internet activities even if sent or performed from a personal electronic device. To stay on the legal side of the monitoring practice, professional lawyers suggest to adopt relevant BYOD policy and get a written consent from employees they agree to follow it.
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This article provides general information only. This information is for general understanding and not to be used as legal advice. To receive professional legal advice, please consult your lawyer.
By WorkTime employee monitoring software www.worktime.com/worktime-corporate/