What are laws and rules concerning an employer monitoring business and personal computers and cell phones?

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2015

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What are laws and rules concerning an employer monitoring business and personal computers and cell phones?

Asked on August 14, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

An employer may monitor all employee usage of a business computer (i.e. one owned or provided by the employer), or all internet activity or emails of an employee which are transmitted over an employer network (e.g. using the employer's wifi) or over the employer's email or internet accounts. The employer may not monitor the employee's personal computer usage not done over employer-owned/provided email or internet unless the employee consented to the monitoring.

Similarly, the employer may monitor phone usage, text messages, etc. for any cell phone provided or paid for by the employer, but may not do so for a purely personal cell phone (without consent). The employer may not record or listen into the employee's conversations without consent, even on an employer phone.

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