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Today’s commercial environment is more competitive than ever before. Companies that want to succeed must ensure that they are getting the highest possible level of performance out of their team.

Desktop with Social Media Logos.pngMany employers regulate the productivity of their team using monitoring solutions. However, there are some instances when employers should think twice about monitoring their employees.

Monitoring Employee Activity on the Phone

The laws relating to phone monitoring vary from state to state, but in most cases, employers are allowed to conduct limited phone monitoring of employees. If you are an employer monitoring employee phone calls, generally you are allowed to monitor employee calls that relate to business tasks, such as talking to customers or discussing a project with colleagues.

However, it is important to remember that many states, including Connecticut and New York have provisions in place that require employers to let employees know that they will be monitoring phone calls. If possible, employers should try to only record and monitor phone calls for training or other professional purposes.

Monitoring Employee Activity Through Video

Video surveillance is also allowed for employers who want to keep an eye on the areas where their employees work to ensure that no misconduct is taking place. In most states, employers can record and monitor video of employees in general areas like stock rooms, retail floors, and warehouses, but not in areas that are for personal use.

For example, New York law states that “No employer may cause a video recording to be made of an employee in a restroom, locker room, or room designated by an employer for employees to change their clothes.” A good rule of thumb is that if an employee is handling official company business while being monitored it is probably okay, but if they are handling personal things like using the restroom or eating on a break, you should not monitor them with a video.

Monitoring Social Network Activity

Many companies today know that people love using social networks and leverage this fact to find new customers. The rise of social media is a double-edged sword, however, because it means that many companies have to deal with their employees wasting time on social networks. Even worse, employees often disparage their employers online, which hurts the company’s reputation.

As far as monitoring the social media activity of employees, there is nothing wrong with an employer keeping track of how much time employees are spending on social networks when they are using company devices and are on the clock. On the other hand, employers should be careful about monitoring employee activity on personal accounts or when they are not working. The National Labor Relations Board has been filing complaints against employers that terminated employees for discussing employment conditions with other employees.

When it comes to monitoring, the key thing to remember is that as long as it is an activity conducted for or on behalf of the organization, it’s okay to monitor employees. On the other hand, when employees are not working or while they are handling personal business, it’s generally not a good idea to monitor them. Following this rule will help you stay within legal boundaries when it comes to employee monitoring.