Snooping on your employees - a reality check

Despite the news reports this week, the European Court of Human Rights has not decreed that employers have the right to look at their employees' personal communications. The reality is that the staff member in this particular story was using a company Yahoo Messenger account that he claimed he only used for communicating with clients. In fact, he used it for personal communications too and when his employer found out, they sacked him for breaching his terms of employment because he lied.

As an employer you don't have the right to snoop on your employees' private communications and the Convention on Human Rights even states that a certain amount of personal communication, even from work devices, it not unlawful.

Respecting businesses and employees alike

As a business, however, you need to be assured that your company isn't being misrepresented or that access to the Internet isn't being unreasonably abused.  There are tools available and at Exmos we offer a suite of excellent security tools available that will let you analyse web and email usage.

But it's about balance. Your most valuable assets - your employees - have the right to know what the company's expectations are in terms of their Internet and communications behaviour. If you're monitoring them, they should know about it and it should form part of your staff handbook and terms of employment.

Respect and proportion are key.

Posted by Kirsty McIntosh on Friday, January 15, 2016

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