Overview: Employee privacy laws cover everything from the monitoring of employee communications including phone, email, internet and social media at work to the protection of employee records and confidential information. Considerations of employee privacy also impact employer monitoring of employee conduct as well as searching of personal and employer-provided property.
It is best practice for an employer to develop and implement policies that address privacy in the workplace and employee expectations. Employers should aim to strike a balance between monitoring the workplace and respecting employee rights. Employers should have a legitimate business reason for engaging in any conduct which impacts employee privacy rights. Further, it may be advisable to obtain employee consent where possible when engaging in any monitoring or surveillance.
Trends: Privacy is one of the hottest and most volatile subjects in the workplace today, and deservedly so. From employee social media use to the use of GPS devices to monitor employee conduct, the landscape of employee privacy is constantly changing based on new technologies and developments. Employers should also be aware that state and federal governments have shown a willingness to legislate a variety of topics ranging from protection of genetic information to wiretapping and social media to data protection.
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
The new regulations establish definitions within Arkansas' 2013 social media law and clarify certain activities from which employers are not prohibited.
Under a new Oklahoma law, an employer will be prohibited from requiring that an employee or applicant allow access to his or her personal online social media account.
Louisiana recently enacted the Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act prohibiting an employer from requesting or requiring an employee or applicant to disclose information that would allow the employer to access or observe the individuals' personal online accounts.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Maryland employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee privacy.
Tennessee has enacted the Employee Online Privacy Act of 2014 prohibiting private employers from accessing employees' and job applicants' social media information and accounts. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2015.
Tennessee has followed the lead of neighboring states Arkansas and Illinois and enacted the Employee Online Privacy Act of 2014 to prohibit private employers with even just one employee from accessing employees' and job applicants' social media information and accounts.
This briefing for supervisors examines the law and best practices regarding employee privacy in the workplace, including monitoring employee use of email and the internet and educating employees on company policy.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee privacy. Privacy issue guidance on subjects such as social media and surveillance.