Generally, there are two sources through which the act of employee surveillance can be restricted. It involves ECPA, or the electronic communications privacy act of 1986, and common law protection against invasion of privacy. The ECPA is a federal law that helps regulate electronic communication and its surveillance at offices. The extension can be found in the federal wiretap act. The federal wiretap act limits the use of communication interception without authority. It primarily aims to restrict oral and wired communication. Now it includes electronic communication sources like emails as well. For more information, you may consult an employment law attorney from Hayber, McKenna, & Dinsmore.
Exceptions of the ECPA
The electronic communications privacy act has two exceptional cases. One of the exceptions is known as the business purpose exception, which facilitates the monitoring of employees by employers if it is proven that the task is intended for business-related motives. The other exception involves monitoring employee-related communications with consent. It is known as the consent exception, which allows employees to check the methods of communication utilized by employees With consent. Employees can ask for personal system communication done by employees if there is the required consent. The business purpose and exceptions of consent restrict the unlimited potential of the electronic communications privacy act. However, it is prevalent in most cases related to employees and villains.
However, other than the restrictions provided by the CPA regarding employee monitoring, some states like California, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida take extra initiative to protect employees’ privacy by giving them a right to privacy. These rights do not directly relate to the employers and their limitations to employee monitoring. However, they support employees regarding claims of privacy violation. Some states have specific legislations that prevent the surveillance of employee social media by employers. They are prohibited from the disclosure of social media names or passwords. Certain states have released provisions regarding the right to accessibility, deletion, and data collection with employee surveillance activities. These acts and rights help in protecting the interests of employees.
Many states have set requirements for providing notices to employees regarding surveillance or monitoring of electronic communications. They are required to give a return on online acknowledgment to the employees for monitoring or interception of their communication.
The intersection of employee monitoring and legal rights
Employees who are allowed to have the accessibility to personal emails and social media don’t have a computer to give protection to attorney-client privilege. They are allowed to protect the right to privacy regarding communication through their personal emails.
Written by Barbara McGee