Do I Have to Tell Employees I’m Monitoring Them?
When you’re monitoring employees for productivity via surveillance software, there are several legal aspects to consider. One of these is whether or not employees need to be told that their computer activity is being watched. So, do you have to tell employees that you’re monitoring them?
Some states do have laws requiring an employer to tell employees if surveillance software is being used. Other states leave this up to the discretion of employers. However, employers are advised to err on the side of honesty in light of possible legal ramifications for failing to do so.
Keep reading to learn how the law applies in this case, what you should do to keep yourself safe, and how to inform employees of surveillance software.
Am I Required to Inform Workers About Surveillance Software?
Whether or not you are legally required to inform employees about surveillance software depends upon the state. Connecticut, Delaware, and New York all have laws in the books requiring employers to inform employees about such software. Other states leave this up to the employer’s better judgment.
However, many states have right to privacy laws. These could impact your ability to legally surveil workers on their work computers if such laws were directed at the surveillance in question.
For example, let’s say you’re secretly using Wolfeye Remote Screen to monitor what your workers do on their in-office computers. You terminate an employee for Using X / Twitter on the job, but he then turns around and seeks to sue you for violating his assumed right to privacy. Who’s correct? Depending on how a judge and jury interpret the situation, either of you could wind up guilty or innocent.
Generally speaking, The Electronic Communications Privacy Act allows employers to monitor what employees say, do, and type for legitimate business reasons. However, the types of digital communications available have changed greatly since the mid-80s, when the law was first enacted.
If you don’t let employees know they’re being watched, letting them go for inappropriate use of their work computer can be difficult. For example, an employee may not be aware he is being watched and may use a work computer to view NSFW content.
If he is fired for this, he may object to his termination because the material he viewed relayed something previously unknown about his private life or sexual orientation. He may further argue that you as an employer had no right to use that secretly recorded information against him and sue for discrimination. So what’s the safest choice here?
What Should An Employer Do?
The safest route for any employer is honesty about surveillance software. Laws regarding data privacy are bound to change in coming years, and the smartest thing for you to do is assume the worker’s right to know.
What’s the best way to do this? Let your workers know about the surveillance software on day one. When hired, be sure to explain to your new employee that surveillance software is used on work computers. Let the worker know what kind of data the software can see, and inform them that all internet activity is visible to the corporation, even if browsing in incognito mode.
It may be helpful to have something in writing that an employee can sign acknowledging their understanding of the surveillance and their consent thereto. You may wish to hire a lawyer to help you draft a clear and air-tight document. Signage in the workplace may also be helpful. The clearer it is to workers, the safer you’ll be.
Make sure that all workplace computer use policies are written, expressed, and available to workers. If your employee is written up for checking Instagram at work when no one told her this was against policy, that’s unfair to her. Be fair, be transparent, and you’ll be in the clear.
So what can Wolfeye Remote Screen see, and how is this relevant to you?
What Can Wolfeye Remote Screen See?
If you do choose to use Wolfeye surveillance software, what kind of information can you see? Whatever is happening on a worker’s screen is visible to you. This software runs quietly in the background and allows you to access employee screens and browsing history in real-time.
Unauthorized logins are also recorded, improving your business’ security and safeguarding your data from in-person breaches. Know who is logging on and when, and correct security issues as they happen. When combined with cameras and microphones, your perspective on employee behavior is truly 360.
The information captured by Wolfeye is available to you on a terminal within the office or from your smartphone. This is true even if employees use incognito mode, use a VPN, or use a security-focused browser. Stay informed even when out of the office with useful Android apps.
If your employee is at a Zoom meeting but is browsing news articles or social media on another window, you can see this. Essentially, Wolfeye is just like peering over their shoulder to observe current activity. This data can be saved, accessed later, or screenshot for future use.
This software is incredibly useful for monitoring employee productivity and helping workers stay on task. But the software is much more effective if workers know they’re being watched. Be sure to give your workers adequate breaks during the day to reduce the likelihood of tired or bored employees being distracted by browsing.
Telling employees that you’re using monitoring software at work is wise and ethical. While select states have laws prohibiting computer surveillance by an employer, others have somewhat open-ended data privacy laws that could be used against such software.
The safest route is to let employees know at hiring that this software is in use, and what the software can see. Be sure to make workplace computer policies clear, so that employees know what is expected of them from day one.
Wolfeye Remote Screen is a fantastic software option for employers who choose this route. It allows 24/7 views of what a worker does on their work computer and runs quietly in the background. Get in touch with us today, if Wolfeye sounds like the perfect solution for you!