Courts have ruled that an employer’s monitoring of its employees’ e-mails and other computer related activities during work hours and/or on company-owned equipment, Internet, and e-mail accounts is not illegal.
Companies typically monitor employees’ online usage for the following reasons:
- To avoid claims based on sexual, racial, ethnic, and other forms of harassment.
- To protect against an employee sending or posting confidential information.
- To reduce exposure to intellectual property infringement claims.
- To decrease the likelihood that an embarrassing message attributed to the employer will be sent.
- To guard against computer viruses.
- To improve productivity.
It is recommended that employers create an AUP (acceptable use policy) that outlines what is and isn't acceptable use of electronic media and communications.