The E-Police Employee Use of Telecommunications

By Mandler, Thomas Y. | Journal of Property Management, March 2000 | Go to article overview

The E-Police Employee Use of Telecommunications


Mandler, Thomas Y., Journal of Property Management


As e-mail, Internet, and other telecommunications options have come into common office use, employers are increasingly becoming concerned about the possible misuse of these technologies by employees. In order to protect its legitimate interests, the most important action that an employer can take is the development and enforcement of a telecommunications policy. For both legal and practical reasons, all of the rules, rights, and objectives of employer and employee must be clearly stated in the policy. If that is accomplished, an employer will have a great deal more flexibility in handling employee issues.

A recent survey by the American Management Association has found that between 1997 and 1998, employers' use of communications monitoring has risen significantly, especially in the areas of computer and e-mail use. When preparing and implementing a workable telecommunications policy, there are several factors to consider.

Employer's Concerns

First and foremost, an employer's concern is to protect its assets such as trade secrets and confidential information. Because e-mail records are retained in computer systems indefinitely, long after they are deleted, employees may intentionally or inadvertently make sensitive company information accessible through e-mail transfers.

Protecting the licensing of computer software is also a concern. If an employee copies company-owned or licensed software and takes it home or e-mails it to a friend, the employer has violated the license. The reverse problem occurs when employees bring in or download unlicensed software or software that has not been scanned for viruses. If an employee is caught using unlicensed software, the employer can be held responsible for the violation, even if the employer was unaware of the employee's use of the unlicensed software. The "computer police" periodically review software licenses at larger companies.

Other employer concerns are quality control and employees' job performance. Since the employer's name appears on all e-mail correspondence, there is a danger that the company may be associated with inappropriate communications.

Employers also have a legal obligation to protect their employees from discrimination, harassment, and violence. Most people who use e-mail regularly have received a joke from a friend that might have included a sexual, racial, or ethnic statement that would offend someone. This could be viewed as harassment. Although software is available for detecting "inappropriate words" in e-mail messages, the use of dashes or other symbols can easily circumvent such a safeguard.

When you compare the employer's concerns--business assets, harassment protection, and illegal usage of software, with the employee's right of privacy, there is a significant balance in the employer's favor.

The Employee's Concerns

The employee's principal concern is his or her right to privacy, which is based upon legal protections. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1996 is a federal law that imposes limitations on monitoring, specifically on the interception or recording of telephone calls. However, it does not limit monitoring of computer usage, Internet, or e-mail communications because such monitoring does not involve interception. Reading a message is not interception. Some state statutes require that all parties consent to any form of monitoring, and other states are adopting similar requirements. Therefore, the telecommunications policy should give the employer the right to monitor employee communications.

We are not suggesting that "Big Brother" should always be watching. First, it is unrealistic to assume that employees will never use company telecommunications equipment for personal business. Employers know that at some point during any given day, an employee will make a personal call. It is unrealistic to assume that any employee works 100 percent of the time. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The E-Police Employee Use of Telecommunications
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.