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How to Protect and Manage Employee Privacy in the Workplace

Author: Jessica Sussman

Employers today often elect to monitor employee activities including computer use, phone calls and text messages. Further, employers may seek to conduct testing and background checks of employees and applicants. However, employers should always consider whether there is a legitimate business interest in monitoring employees that outweighs employee privacy rights. Employees generally do not have an expectation of privacy in the workplace when employers put employees on notice that they may be monitored. Notwithstanding this, federal and state laws do limit an employer's ability to invade the privacy of its employees. The steps below detail how an employer should proceed during the hiring process and throughout employment to balance both the employer's need for information and employee privacy rights.