What Does The Law Say About Workplace Monitoring?

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What does the law say about workplace monitoring? Unfortunately, there is little legal recourse available to employees in terms of workplace monitoring. A 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits unauthorized interception of electronic communications, including email. However, an exemption is made for service providers, which is commonly interpreted to include employers who offer email and Internet access (Schulman). There are no federal statutes which regulate private employers on broad workplace privacy issues, but there are two federal laws that regulate specific aspects of privacy that arise during the employment relationship:
The Federal Privacy Act restricts the collection of information and regulates access to Information for federal employees and covers private employers who have federal contracts requiring specific record keeping obligations. The Federal Wiretapping Act/Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits the intentional interception or disclosure of any wire, oral, or electronic communication where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. There are two exceptions: (1) if one party to the communication has consented, electronic monitoring is allowed, and (2) a business use exemption permits telephone extension equipment used to monitor communications within the ordinary course of business. In addition to the federal privacy laws, many states have adopted comparable statutes that may impact an employee monitoring program. A great
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