• Is my employer entitled to monitor my phone calls ?

  • Is my employer entitled to monitor my e-mails, voice mail and my computer usage ?

  • Is it legal to videotape employees without telling them?

  • Is my employer entitled to search my locker ?

  • Is my employer entitled to search my desk ?

  • Can my employer search my automobile ?


    Q: Is my employer entitled to monitor my phone calls?

    A: Normally, yes. But if the employer is monitoring a call and learns that it's a personal call, he should hang up. However, if an employer dictates that no personal calls are to be made from specific business phone, the employee should not assume that these calls aren't monitored.

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    Q: Is my employer entitled to monitor my e-mails, voice mail and my computer usage?

    A: Normally, yes. The company owns the equipment and the e-mail software, and they are at liberty to monitor their own equipment. No notification is required. Some union contracts may limit the type and amount of monitoring, or may require notification of monitoring.

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    Q: Is it legal to videotape employees without telling them?

    A: Usually it's legal, but it depends on where they set up the camera. Employers can usually only tape in an area that monitors work activities. For example, people expect more privacy in a bathroom, changing room or locker room, so it's usually illegal to videotape those areas without telling employees.

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    Q: Is my employer entitled to search my locker?

    A: That can depend on the specific facts of the situation. State laws protect privacy to varying degrees. In some states, if you take steps to secure the privacy of your locker, the employer might not have any right to search the locker. In other states, the employer may have an absolute right to search your locker. You likely should not count on having any right to privacy at work.

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    Q: Is my employer entitled to search my desk?

    A: That can depend on the specific facts of the situation. The various states protect privacy to varying degrees. In some states, if you take steps to secure the privacy of your desk - for instance, if your desk incorporates a lockable drawer - the employer might not have any right to search the locker. In other states, the employer may have an absolute right to search your desk. You likely should not count on having any right to privacy at work.

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    Q: Can my employer search my automobile?

    A: If you park on company property and if the employee handbook states that your car is subject to search, you should assume that it could be searched. The employer normally would have no right whatsoever to force an entry into your car, so consider locking it.

    If your employer asks to search your automobile, you may be subject to discipline if you refuse to allow the search.

    If your state provides exceptional protection to personal privacy, the employer might have no right whatsoever to search your automobile except if you allow them to, and may be prohibited from punishing you if you refuse to allow them to search the car. Contact your state's Department of Labor for specifics.

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  • Tagged as: Labor and Employment, employee privacy, work privacy, employment lawyer