Most people who have computers at work have used their computers for personal reasons at least once, if not regularly. Your employer has the right to monitor activity on your work computer. In certain circumstances, they can also monitor nonwork devices if you are using the Wi-Fi at your office. For anyone working in an office, it is important to know how and what your employer monitors while you are at work.
Your employer can see almost everything that travels through work devices or over the work network. Some of the things your company may be monitoring include:
Your employer can most likely also access files and emails that you delete, so trying to hide information by deleting it will not keep your employer from looking at it. Your employer also can track and listen to phone calls, voicemails, and text messages. Be careful about what comes to your work devices because your employer can most likely access the information.
Your company has the right to monitor any of its work devices. If they own the device, they can search through it, even if the information is not from a work email or work-related platform. Your employer cannot legally access information or data on your personal devices without a court order. However, if you send or receive information on your personal device using the company’s network, your employer can monitor it. If you want to make personal phone calls or communications, make sure you are not on your company’s network.
If your employer finds incriminating information from monitoring your devices, he or she can legally fire you. Even if it is not damaging or dangerous information, your employer can fire you for using the internet for non-work related purposes. There are some exceptions:
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act outlines the rights people have when they use electronic devices. Lawmakers created it to protect people’s electronic communications. However, there are three exceptions that provide employers with the legal right to monitor information:
Employers will usually include information about electronic monitoring in introductory information or employee handbooks when you first begin working at a company.
If you are confused about the policy or concerned about what your company can access, re-visit your company’s information, or contact
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