Monitoring Communications? Know Legal Pitfalls

February 7, 2011 – In The News
Business Insurance

Employers wanting to monitor employees’ electronic communication, regardless of whether workers are on the clock or using company equipment, must proceed with caution. Case law in this area is still developing, but employers can significantly mitigate their liability risk through precisely worded policies that cover workers’ use of e-mail and company equipment while on the job and by respecting employees’ First Amendment rights and avoiding efforts to inappropriately access nonpublic forums.

While some employers would even like to regulate what employees say on their own time and their own computers about the employer, “I could only see very few instances” where however an employee spends his free time is the business of the employer, said Scott L. Vernick. “I would tend to doubt that as a condition of employment, you have to give someone full access to all of your Internet behavior and blog behavior and social media behavior.”