In the United States of America monitoring employees is a completely legal activity. Almost all federal and state laws permit employers to monitor their owned devices (used by employees), especially where there lies the business intent.
Employers can monitor their employees’ attendance, productive time, activities on the internet, screen content, keystrokes, emails, communication, and more. But, that said, there are laws which are governing the extent of monitoring with employee monitoring software in a work environment.
1. Is it legal to monitor employees in the USA?
Yes, in the United States of America it is legal and encouraged to employers to considerably, till some extent, monitor employees activities on workplace devices. But, such monitoring needs to be validated with logical business reasons from the organizations.
Some states, however, ask for consents from employees before monitoring. But, as far as, Federal laws are concerned employers have no restrictions/requirements to disclose about staff monitoring.
2. Monitoring employees’ internet and social media activities is legal?
Yes, mostly in all cases employers have the legal right to ensure that the employees are using the workplace’s internet for only work related jobs. Laws in the U.S. allow employers to track internet activities of employees like websites visited, URLs opened, amount of time spent on all sites, and even restrict some websites.
In some states of the U.S. it is permissible to employers to carry out pre-employment background checks on employees before hiring them. In this they might even ask for social media credentials as a completely legal formality.
3. How legal is it to monitor screen captures and keyboard usage?
It is completely legal for employers to monitor screen captures and keyboard usage in the USA. simply put, in the U.S. it is completely legal to monitor each and every activity of an employee undertaken in working hours. It can be legally added and announced to employees too.
4. Is it legal for employers to Monitor email content?
Yes, under the United States law any email that an employee sends or receives on a company’s computer comes under the radar of monitoring. Being received on the company’s devices they can be monitored and accessed whenever and however.
Though in some states consent is necessary, majorly is defined as legal under federation laws. For example, in California, third party consent is necessary before accessing mails.
5. Is monitoring and recording phone conversations also legal?
Yes, but only on devices owned by the company because they are the company’s property and can be only used for official purposes. The addition to the fourth amendment of Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, however, states that it is illegal to intercept any type of communication, wire, oral, or electronic. But, there are some exceptions like:
- Business-related exception where employers are allowed to monitor calls only if they have legitimate reasons to support their cause.
- Prior-consent exception stated by Federal says that recording of the phone is permissible if even one party agrees and gives consent for same. Though this law has its own amendments in every state.
6. Is video monitoring of systems also legal in the U.S.?
Yes, Federal laws in the U.S. let you use the video monitoring of systems in the office as long as it is done specifically and only for business purposes. However, some states such as California and New York still have restrictions of usage of video monitoring systems in locker rooms, restrooms, and certain areas that need not monitoring.
Video recording must not include audio as per laws from a federal wiretap.
7. Do monitoring employees’ personal devices also come under laws?
In some instances, Yes. If an organization has a policy of bringing its own devices for employees it can track their activities. But, this requires prior information and consent from employees. Also, this tracking is strictly for only job-related tasks.
8. Do organizations need to inform employees about their monitoring?
Informing employees beforehand of their monitoring is required in only 2 states of the U.S. This is because the state’s laws in the U.S. vary in some states like Connecticut Gen. Stat.§ 31-48d and Delaware Del. 6 Code § 19-7-705 and thus require pre-information of monitoring.
9. Is employer monitoring policy important in the U.S?
Yes, in the U.S. policies and code of conduct are utmost important in any organization. It is recommended that all organizations must have employee monitoring policies like:
- Be very precise and clear with your policies
- Clearly define what and till which extent will be monitored.
- Ensure written acknowledgment from employees.
- State and inform little or no privacy of usage from company’s properties.
- Set restrictions on sharing personal data with a third party.
10. Are there any laws protecting employees’ privacy in the U.S.?
While ensuring the privacy of employers, the U.S. has not forgotten about employees’ privacy too.
United States Data Protection Laws of 1998 put employers under critical obligation to protect their employees’ sensitive information safe at any cost. Along with that, there are federal and state laws that protect employees’ privacy at the workplace.
Two of such laws are the Video Privacy Protection Act and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that allow the employees to seek details of their private information that has been accumulated by the employers.
The United States has tried to, very intelligently, manage and even out the need for privacy and monitoring at the workplace. Having said that, transparency in the workplace is always a good practice.
Set up clear and definite policies in place and announce them clearly into the organization. Having a clear set of policies impacts the companies growth by moving it in the right direction.
WorkStatus Makes Tracking Easier by Working under Strict Laws
In order to strictly abide by the laws set by the United States, WorkStatus ensures that its time tracking and monitoring software is equipped with all the necessary features. Yet, it enables customization of every feature to apply or restrict the functionality of features.
Each of the features of WorkStatus like time tracking and activity monitoring with screenshots is customizable to the number of screenshots and if no screenshots at all. Check them out, if you want a completely law-abiding time tracking and monitoring software.
It is convenient, simple, and hassle-free.