Monitor Employee Telephone Use

Key Points

  • An employer should ensure that any monitoring of employee phone calls is conducted within the confines of the law, and that the employer is protected from any potential liability.
  • Both state and federal law prohibit intercepting phone calls, with several important exceptions. Under federal law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), imposes civil and criminal penalties for intentionally intercepting any oral, electronic, or wire communications, including telephone communications or using or disclosing this information.
  • An employer should publish a policy on monitoring employee telephone use. The policy should be widely disseminated to all employees so that employees are on notice of the parameters of the employer's right to monitor employee phone calls.
  • The employee handbook should clearly state what type of phone monitoring will take place, and under what circumstances. The handbook should also state the consequences for violating these policies. A written acknowledgement should be included for the employee to sign.
  • The employer must balance its legitimate business interests with the privacy rights of employees.

Additional Resources