Monitoring Employees- how to do it Ethically and Legally?

Posted by Daisyhill on July 18th, 2019

Monitoring employees has become a regular norm in most firms today. And although some people may challenge this behavior on ethical grounds, but legally it is every employer’s right to monitor their employee’s activities on every company owned gadget provided to them for instance, computers and smart phones. Here is a list of reasons why employers find it most compelling to monitor their employees’ activities:

  • Protecting your company from possible thefts on both tangible and intangible assets.
  • Holding evidence in case the company gets tangled in a lawsuit.
  • Helps maintain a strong work ethic environment in the workplace.
  • Can be useful to ensure the law of the land. For example, hand in criminals for obstruction of the law like illegalized prostitution.
  • Get to understand the workers intricate thoughts about the company.

There are many other reasons which lead employers into monitoring their employees activities however there is fine line between keeping an eye out and spying on someone. Therefore, in order to monitor employees legally as well ethically, we have put down a few pointers that will not hinder your company’s productivity or your employees’ satisfaction levels.

Set concrete policies

Policies help set boundaries. These are a means of communication exactly what the employer expects from the employee in terms of their working activities and behaviors, in a very civilized and corporate manner. These responsibilities should be concrete and very easy to understand. Rules on internet usage and gadgetry provided by the company should be adequately balanced while at the same time should also be clearly defining the potential risks and challenges the company faces if something bad happens. The employers should also consider getting a non-compete document signed by all employees after clearly stating to them that monitoring shall happen periodically. This way the company stays protected from any harmful legal action in the future.

Disclose potential monitoring

If your employees are in line for a monitoring spree then the ethical thing to do is let them know about it. This does not mean the employers should tell the employees exactly when and how the monitoring shall take place. It only means that a standard advanced notice should be circulated for monitoring to take place. Although the company would have already gotten a discloser signed, it doesn’t mean that the employee should feel uncomfortable based on sinister feelings associated with stalking. This is an ethical concern especially if the employee feels that he or she is being spied on unnecessarily outside the work environment.

Discretion is implied

Disclosing monitoring possibilities is one thing while controlling when it is done is another. Employers should never disclose when and how the monitoring shall take place. This is a discrete plan and the more anonymous it stays the more effective it is. Discretion about monitoring will not jeopardize the employers legal standing either. Nor will it breech any privacy concerns based on the employees’ illicit behaviors’. This is especially important because monitoring an individual would lead to uncovering some private orientations about them for example, religion, sexuality and many more. Such information could later be used against the company for discrimination lawsuits.

Use reliable technological apparatus

Rather than going for the conventional methods of monitoring which could be time consuming and very costly, the employer should install reliable monitoring software’s that are programmed to provide aggregate results of any employees’ use of company gadgetry and internet. By going for the bigger picture, you will not only be taking into account the employees privacy but also be protecting your company from any potential discriminatory lawsuits.

These soft-wares can also be programmed to pick up specific material that the employer has fed into it. If it tends to highlight any red flags in the concerned area, further investigation and probing can be conducted.

Monitoring employees may have its upsides but also has many downfalls associated with it too. Therefore there is usually a tradeoff between the two. And hence it is important that the employer understands all the risks associated with monitoring before setting on such a path. One way of staying clear of many problems with monitoring is to understand and honor the fine line between monitoring and surveillance or spying. This would help the company stay clear of breeching any legal or ethical boundaries.


About the Author

Joined: July 18th, 2019
Articles Posted: 1

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