Is It Legal for Employers to Monitor Your Computer?


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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:

  1. To avoid claims based on sexual, racial, ethnic, and other forms of harassment.
  2. To protect against an employee sending or posting confidential information.
  3. To reduce exposure to intellectual property infringement claims.
  4. To decrease the likelihood that an embarrassing message attributed to the employer will be sent.
  5. To guard against computer viruses.
  6. 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.