Electronic Monitoring Handbook Statement: Connecticut
When to Include
Connecticut employers with one or more employees who engage in electronic surveillance to monitor activity in the workplace should include this statement in their handbook to inform employees that they may be subject to electronic monitoring.
Customizable Handbook Statement
The Company monitors employee use of company computer networks, electronic mail (email) systems and other company communication resources in its sole discretion. Specifically, the Company monitors [insert all types of electronic monitoring, such as monitoring of email, instant messages, or internet access; video monitoring; monitoring of telephone calls, etc.]. Accordingly, employees should not expect that these communications are private. For additional information, please refer to the [insert relevant policies, such as Cameras and Video Surveillance or Electronic Resources] policy in the National Handbook.
No audio or video recording will occur in restrooms or areas where employees change clothing.
Guidance for Employers
- Connecticut employers that use electronic surveillance to monitor broad types of activity in the workplace, including surveillance through computers, telephones and cameras, must comply with a Connecticut law requiring that, even in those circumstances where electronic monitoring of employees is permissible under federal and state law, employers that do so are required to post prior written notice informing employees who may be affected by the monitoring as to the types of electronic surveillance that may occur.
- When applicable, employers should incorporate or refer to any relevant, additional policies that provide more comprehensive discussion of the employer's monitoring practices. Such policies may include a Camera and Video Surveillance policy or an Electronic Resources policy.
- Connecticut law defines "electronic monitoring" as the collection of information concerning employee activities by any means other than direct observation, including the use of a computer, telephone, wire, radio, camera, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical systems.
- The law does not pertain to information collected for security purposes in common areas of the employer's premises that are held out for use of the public or to collection that is prohibited under state or federal law.
- Do not operate any electronic surveillance device or system to record or monitor employees in areas designed for the health or personal comfort of employees (such as restrooms, locker rooms or lounges).
- Connecticut's electronic monitoring law is a two-party consent law and prohibits employers from intentionally overhearing or recording a conversation regarding employment contract negotiations, unless all parties consent to such recording.
- Download the Electronic Monitoring poster and post in a conspicuous place that is readily accessible to employees.
- Electronic monitoring may be conducted without prior written notice when there are reasonable grounds to believe that employees are engaged in conduct that violates the law or the legal rights of the employer, employees or creates a hostile workplace environment.
- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) considers an employer ban on nonbusiness use of corporate email to be unlawful. An employer is allowed to limit employees' rights to use corporate email for Section 7 activities to nonworking times and to impose "uniform and consistently enforced controls over its email system to the extent such controls are necessary to maintain production and discipline." For instance, "prohibiting large attachments or audio/video segments," could be permissible "if the employer can demonstrate that they would interfere with the email system's efficient functioning." In its decision regarding prohibitions against nonbusiness use of company e-mail, the NLRB noted that it does not prohibit monitoring of computer and e-mail systems for legitimate management reasons or notifying employees of such monitoring. In addition, the NLRB's decision does not require employers to offer email access to non-employees for organizing or other purposes and employers are not required to offer employees who do not have email access for work-related purposes, access for nonwork uses.
- On March 18, 2015, the General Counsel of the NLRB released guidance (the "Report") wherein the NLRB further explained that it will treat electronic distributions of literature, such as through email, as co-worker solicitations. Such solicitations are subject to NLRB requirements that employer rules allow them during nonworking times.
- The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) also prohibits employers from monitoring, or giving the impression of monitoring, employee union activity and imposes other limitations on video surveillance.
- Consult legal counsel before implementing an electronic monitoring or other surveillance program to ensure that it is lawful, communicated effectively to employees and conducted in a nondiscriminatory manner.