Privacy in the Workplace
Employers have interests in protecting their workplace and ensuring that they prevent theft, unfair competition, and other misconduct. Employers may use monitoring devices to protect their own interests and to ensure the safety of their workers and customers. With the prevalence of electronic devices and the advances in monitoring, there are a multitude of ways that employers can now monitor their workplaces. With the advent of these new monitoring capabilities, there are also now many laws that protect the privacy of employees by placing restrictions on how and under what circumstances employers can monitor their employees. Similarly, companies that collect certain private information from their employees may have an obligation to both protect that information from disclosure and to ensure the proper disposal of any media containing that information. It is important that employers are familiar with and follow the laws and regulations governing surveillance and employee privacy because failing to do so can carry both civil and criminal consequences.
There are many valid business reasons for employers to monitor their employees’ activities at work. We assist companies in setting up programs and policies that permit them to legally monitor phone calls, e-mails, computer use, and other employee activities. We also counsel clients on video surveillance and other security measures that are in compliance with federal and state laws.
Additionally, we help companies identify the private information they maintain about their employees and counsel them on the various requirements to maintain the confidentiality of that information. This can include setting up policies which address how to handle such information, regulate employees’ access to such information at or away from the workplace, and the proper manner of disposal of media which contain such information.
All areas of employee privacy are increasingly becoming a source of litigation. Whether it is responding to information found as a result of monitoring, defending against a claim that an employer infringed on the privacy rights of its employees, or responding to a data breach in which private information has been compromised, our experienced attorneys can help employers navigate these emergency situations. Our attorneys assist employers at every step in such matters, helping to limit the damage that is done to the business. Where theft has occurred, we aggressively seek to protect an employer’s rights and explore the various avenues available to a company to recover or obtain remedies for its losses.