The number of employees working from home has grown exponentially over the last several years. With this rise in remote work, “productivity paranoia” has also grown, leading many employers to adopt various employee surveillance technologies in order to make sure their employees are staying productive and on task. However, are these actions legal?
At The Spiggle Law Firm, we provide hardworking employees like you with the legal representation and guidance you need to get the justice you deserve. Our seasoned employment lawyers know the ins and outs of Virginia and federal employment laws and will review your individual case to determine whether your privacy rights are being infringed upon by your employer.
What To Know About Your Employer Monitoring You If You Work From Home
In some jurisdictions, employers may have the right to monitor certain aspects of an employee’s work, such as their internet usage, emails, and computer activity, even if they are working remotely. However, there are typically legal and ethical limitations on what employers can monitor, and they are often required to inform employees about any monitoring practices.
Some common types of monitoring that may occur while working from home include:
- Internet usage monitoring: Employers might track the websites you visit and the time spent on them to ensure that work-related tasks are being prioritized.
- Email monitoring: Employers might have access to monitor work-related emails sent and received on company devices.
- Computer activity monitoring: This can include logging the applications used, the time spent on different tasks, and the overall productivity levels.
- Communication monitoring: Employers may have access to your work-related communications, such as instant messaging or video calls.
- Location tracking: Some companies use GPS or other technologies to track the location of company-owned devices or work-related tools.
If you are unsure if your company is unlawfully monitoring your work, reach out to an employment lawyer today.
Legal Restrictions for Employers Monitoring Remote Workers
Employee monitoring is restricted by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), 18 USC 2510 et seq.
The ECPA is the sole federal law that governs workplace electronic communication monitoring. It broadens the Federal Wiretap Act’s restriction on illegal communication interception, which was previously limited to oral and wire conversations, to include electronic communications such as email.
The ECPA contains two significant exclusions. The first exception permits employers to monitor employee communications provided that they can demonstrate that doing so is necessary for a legitimate business purpose. The second exception allows employers to monitor employee communications as long as they obtain the employee’s consent. Notably, this exception does not apply only to business communications; employers may monitor employees’ personal communications if they have the necessary consent.
The laws and regulations around monitoring employees while working from home can vary depending on your country, state, or region. Additionally, company policies and employment contracts may also dictate the extent to which an employer can monitor an employee’s activities while working from home.
Contact a Virginia Employment Law Attorney To Discuss Your Legal Options Today
If you believe your employer may be overstepping their bounds when monitoring you from home, contact The Spiggle Law Firm today to discuss your case. During your free case review, we will evaluate your particular situation and determine if you might have a legitimate case on your hands.Get the legal support you need to protect your rights and navigate the complexities of employment law. Call our office at (202) 449-8527 or reach out to us online to get started today.