While talking about parents who spy on kids we usually say it is not “spying” but “parenting”. Yet, when it comes to spying on employees, it is just plain old snooping no matter what your intentions are. At times, employers do hesitate about spying on their employees. They do respect the privacy of the person working for them, but, when the employee in question gives them a reason to suspect otherwise, they usually have no reason but to keep an eye on them.
Thus, the need for spy software like TheOneSpy arises in corporate situations, especially when certain businesses find themselves in a legal nightmare which makes monitoring and using surveillance software of employee computers a good thing.
Is Using Spy Software In A Workspace Legal?
Still, question arises that whether or not is it legal to spy on your employees. Once again, there is no clear cut answer to this question either because of the technicality involved. The answer mostly depends on how you are using spy software to keep an eye on employees and why did the need arise in the first place.
Ways in Which Spying On Your Employees Is Legal
• Email Surveillance
Usually, employees do not have any privacy right to the emails sent over a work computer or a work network. Many employers invest into email system that duplicate and stores every single email send by employees to look for illegal use, productivity and many other legitimate concerns.
But, even through Federal wiretapping allows employers to look into employees emails and other employee communications, it still needs to be done with employee’s consent and the employer must, under any circumstances, have a legitimate business purpose for doing so.
• Video Surveillance
Just like looking into ongoing communications at any workplace, an employer can also look into the video-only recordings, as long as it is being used for a legitimate purpose. A few of these legitimate reasons include:
At the moment, employers do not need employee’s consent to video surveillance. The employee doesn’t even need to know about it. However, many state laws do restrict the use of video surveillance where the practise is physically invasive (i.e. in the form of hidden cameras in the bathroom).
• Audio Surveillance
Unlike email and video surveillance, wiretapping laws make it illegal to record vocal communications in a sly manner at a work place without the employees’ consent. Not only that, but audio surveillance without consent is illegal in about 15 states.
• Social Media Surveillance
Even though it is illegal in a number of states to discipline employees on the basis of their off duty activities on social media platforms, yet, an employer is allowed to take action against any employee if the tarnish the company name on the social media in any way.
Plus, if you are stalking your co-worker on your office computer or using other company provided hardware, or looking up sensitive material or photographs, do bear in mind that as long as you are using your company’s network and hardware, they have every right to keep an eye on you and deal with any suspicious behaviour as they deem fit.
• Keystroke Logging
Keystroke logging, or counting keystrokes is one of the many computer programs that can used on your computer to look into your various usernames and passwords. Now, The Stored Communication Act and Federal Law Wiretap Act can protect a few of your right, they still might not be able to help you if you are caught doing suspicious stuff on your company bandwidth and hardware.
• Looking Out For Their Property
When employees are using company bought or paid phones and automobiles, they should expect to be under surveillance all the time. Any company, who is in business to be successful, spends some pretty penny on the equipped and hardware they use. Thus, if you expect you emails to be read, also expect a GPS installed in the company car that you have decided to take an unauthorized trip to Napa valley on.
The world we live in has turned into a place where if we say something nasty about the company we work for on the social media, we’d we caught even if we meticulously get rid of the search history. Therefore, even though it maybe gruelling or tiresome, you need to read the policies and agreements you put your name on when you have decided to work for them. Plus, it is a part of your job to know the rules of your employer or company by heart anyway.
It is also important for any employers to put all such company policies into writing so that they may steer clear of any legal nightmare they might unknowingly become a part of because of this simple oversight.
Angelica is tech geek as well as a Content manager and Social Media enthusiastic. She is extremely passionate and result driven professional. She writes for TOS blog – Spy software for mobile. Follow her on twitter @angelicadowson2