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. The employer must balance its legitimate business interests with the privacy rights of employees.
  • State and federal law prohibit intercepting phone calls, with several important exceptions. The federal 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 clearly stating what type of phone monitoring will take place, under what circumstances and the consequences of violating the policy. The policy should be widely disseminated to all employees, such as in an employee handbook, putting employees on notice of the employer's right to monitor employee phone calls. A written acknowledgement should be included for the employee to sign.

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