Electronic Monitoring

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    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is a federal statute that controls electronic monitoring activities. The ECPA amended and updated Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, commonly known as the federal Wiretap Act. Initially, the Wiretap Act prohibited the intentional and unauthorized interception and...

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    Q If an employee is on some kind of medicine for his back and we notice he has mood swings and can be hostile toward his manager, what rights do we have as the employer? May we require him to bring in a doctor's note? This could be a long-term issue with him. A Obviously, hostility toward a manager is a disciplinary issue, so begin there. From...
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    Q Our company isn't doing well financially. To save money, we want to require all employees (salaried and hourly) to take a day off without pay for the next three pay periods. Are we allowed to do that? A By salaried, I assume you mean exempt employees. You are allowed to require nonexempt employees to take an unpaid day off since they are paid...
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    The New York Court of Appeals recently addressed the question of how far a public-sector employer can go to investigate employee misconduct. Although there are well-established constitutional limitations on public-sector employers' investigatory rights, those employers aren't entirely unable to monitor their employees. The court's decision is just...
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    On April 5, Governor Susana Martinez signed into law Senate Bill 371, passed by the New Mexico Legislature during the 2013 legislative session. The new law prohibits a prospective employer from asking or requiring a job applicant to furnish login information to permit the employer to gain access to the applicant's account or profile on a social...
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    As we went to press, the Texas Legislature was voting on House Bill 318, which deals with employer access to employees' and job applicants' personal social media accounts. In short, the bill prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting that an employee or a job applicant disclose her username, password, or other means of accessing a personal...
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    If a gadget uses electricity, chances are pretty good that it has a greater role to play than you might think in helping—or possibly hurting—your interests as an employer. Monitoring your employees' use of workplace computers is an obvious starting place. But people also leave electronic footprints on the Internet—in and out of the...
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    It's difficult to imagine doing business today without electronic communications. E-mails, faxes, and text messages at work are commonplace, and newer technologies like social networking have increasingly gained acceptance. Monitoring your employees' electronic communications can yield valuable information—such as employee morale or...
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    Q We are a relatively small family-owned company. Our IT manager takes it upon himself to read everyone's (including his coworkers') e-mails, many of which involve correspondence with HR, workers' compensation claims, and benefits questions. I know it's unethical, but I need to be able to present to the owners that what he is doing is wrong and...
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    Businesses often believe they have an unfettered right to review any information employees communicate through company computers or other resources, such as e-mails, texts, or instant messages, whether the communications are personal or business-related. Employees don't always agree, especially when they use those resources to engage in private...
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