Monitoring Rules and Tools
The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) gives U.S. employers the legal right to monitor all employee computer activity and transmissions. The ECPA makes clear the fact that the organization2019s computer system is the property of the employer, and employees have absolutely no reasonable expectation of privacy when using company computer systems, tools, and technologies.
Courts in the United States have consistently ruled that employees should assume their computer activity is being watched2014even if they have not been formally notified of monitoring. The courts generally sup- port the position that informed employees neither would nor should as- sume that their e-mail transmissions are their own. Even in cases in which employers have told workers that incoming and outgoing e-mail is not being monitored, the courts have ruled that employees still should not expect privacy when using a company system.1
Online Employees In Line
Electronic monitoring is the easiest, most effective way to track e-mail and Internet use and misuse whether accidental or intentional. Best practices call for all employers2014regardless of company size, industry, regulatory situation, or status as a public or private entity2014to take ad- vantage of the law and monitor all online activities and transmissions.
That said, if you are a U.S.-based employer with employees and oper- ations abroad, you may not be able to apply your domestic monitoring policy to employees who are stationed outside of the United States. In the United Kingdom, for example, a premium is placed on employee privacy.