Privacy Rights in a High-Tech World: Monitoring Employee E-Mail, Voicemail and Internet Use
Morgan Lewis Title
published on:June 2001
downloads/links:View White Paper
The technological innovations developed over the past several years have revolutionized the workplace. E-mail, voicemail, and Internet access have become an integral part of an employee’s workstation and have dramatically increased worker productivity. Although these innovations provide many benefits, they also pose potential pitfalls for the unwary employer. With a few simple keystrokes, your employees may be able to view pornography on the Internet, send offensive e-mails to co-workers or clients, or circulate your latest customer lists and other confidential information to your competitors.
Putting aside lost productivity and other business consequences, employers are concerned about the content of their employees’ electronic files, communications, and Internet use for another reason: companies are increasingly being held accountable in harassment and discrimination lawsuits as a result of evidence derived from electronic or voicemail communications. Faced with these potential consequences, many employers routinely monitor employee e-mail, voicemail, and Internet use. As employer monitoring becomes more refined and as employee termination cases increase and continue to receive publicity, employees are becoming more concerned about the monitoring of their e-mails and other activities and are questioning the propriety and legality of employer monitoring.
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