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Top 10 FAQ’s on Employee Monitoring in U.S.

Employee monitoring is becoming increasingly popular in the United States as a tool to improve productivity, manage remote workers, and enhance security. However there are still many people are confused about what it is all about and whether or not it is legal.

If you’re unsure about the legality of employee monitoring in the U.S., here are the answers to the top 10 most frequently asked questions about it:

1. Is it legal to monitor employees in the United States?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, employee monitoring is totally legal in the U.S. as long as it is for valid business reasons and on company-owned devices. However some states may require that employers obtain consent, or have a written policy.

2. What states require that employees are notified?

As things stand, there are two states that require employers notify workers before monitoring them: Connecticut and Delaware. Although other states may not legally require consent, it may be a good idea for other reasons.

3. Is an employee monitoring policy required?

An employee monitoring policy is generally mandatory, and should cover the scope and limits of the monitoring that will be carried out.

4. Is it legal to monitor all activities on company-owned devices?

Any company-owned devices are considered to be property of the company according to ECPA which means the employer is allowed to monitor all activities carried out on them.

In other words if you install Controlio on a company-owned laptop, you can legally monitor your remote workers while they are working from home.

5. Is it legal to monitor the personal devices of employees?

Under most circumstances it is legal to monitor the personal devices of employees when they are used in the workplace and there is a structured policy about it. Monitoring personal devices of employees outside the workplace may be sketchy, as can forced search and seizures of personal devices.

6. Can social media and online activities be monitored legally?

Although it may seem like a privacy issue, the truth is that employees can monitor social media and online activities during working hours and on company-owned devices to make sure employees are using it for work-related purposes.

To be honest if you feel that social media or online activities are an issue, Controlio will let you block or filter them.

7. Can a company legally record keystrokes or the content of a screen?

It is completely legal to record keystrokes and monitor the content of a screen as long as it is on a company-owned computer. However there may be some ethical and privacy issues if you capture personal information such as bank details or passwords.

As a rule of thumb, you should try to only use Controlio to monitor data that is relevant to your business. For example, even though you can capture ever keystroke – you should only do so if it is necessary to improve security or productivity.

8. Is it legal to monitor emails?

If necessary it is legal to monitor emails sent or received on a company system. However some states require prior consent, while others require that employees are notified or the company set a clear email monitoring policy.

9. Can a company legally record phone conversations?

Recording phone conversations is technically illegal under the Fourth Amendment and the ECPA. However it is allowed as long as you obtain prior consent, or monitor it as part of your company systems and backed by a legitimate business reason.

10. Can video monitoring systems be used in the workplace?

It is legal to use video monitoring in the workplace if it is backed by a legitimate business reason. However some states prohibit video recording in restrooms, locker rooms, and other private areas.

Based on the answers to these questions you should be able to see how you can legally monitor U.S. employees who work on a more remote basis or in the office.

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