Do employers have a right to monitor workers’ email?
Can employer monitor employee email?
Yes. Employers have the right to read employees’ work emails and electronic messages, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. In practice, however, employers need to ensure that their internal policies allow then to do so and that employees are made aware of the fact that work computers, email accounts and messenger services are used for work purposes alone. I even don’t recommend that employees check their personal Gmail account using the work computer because there might be circumstances where the employer will be justified in monitoring those too.
In the UK, employers are allowed to monitor their employees to a certain extent, but there are legal and ethical limitations to what they can do.
Employers have the right to monitor employees’ use of company resources, including computers, phones, and other electronic devices, as long as they have a legitimate reason for doing so. This may include monitoring employees’ internet usage, email correspondence, and even telephone calls made on company phones.
However, employers must inform employees of any monitoring activities and ensure that they are carried out in a way that is proportionate and respectful of employees’ privacy rights. Employers cannot monitor employees’ personal devices, such as their personal phones or computers, without their explicit consent.
Additionally, employers cannot monitor employees’ activities outside of work, such as their social media or personal emails, unless it directly relates to the employee’s job or there is a specific legal reason to do so.
Overall, while employers do have some rights to monitor their employees in the UK, they must do so in a way that is fair, legal, and respectful of employees’ privacy rights.
As good practice employers who wish to monitor employee email should require employees not to use their own personal email or skype accounts to communicate on behalf of the business and make clear that the employer reserves the right to monitor employee email.
In 2014, Microsoft was accused of spying on one of their employees’ personal Hotmail account and reading messages, which included alleged disclosure by the employee of confidential Microsoft work related information to a third party. The employee was interrogated for 3 hours and eventually dismissed from his job on the basis of the information which was discovered in his personal emails account.
Employers can spy into employees’ personal computers, including reading emails in order to protect their intellectual property, to preserve the good reputation of the business and to enhance the safety and security of other employees.
Employees who for example, defame or harass other people or businesses through their work computer can end up bringing trouble to their employer who might be found to be vicariously (indirectly) liable to the action of the employees.
Employers therefore can, under many different circumstances, claim that they are in fact duty bound to spy on employees’ computers and communications to protect the company, its employees or even the safety and security of third parties.
What is the position, however, regarding employers spying on employees who use their own mobile telephone but via the employer’s Wi-Fi system remains to be seen. Sooner or later a case addressing precisely this point is likely to arise.
Can employer monitor employee email. Internet and social media lawyer Yair Cohen radio interview, complaining the rights of employers to monitor employees’ email at work.