Should Employers be Allowed to Read Your Email?
Employment trends expert weighs in
The European Court of Human Rights just overturned a previous ruling which had given employers unfettered access to their employees’ emails and workplace communications. The decision is once again sparking discussion about American privacy laws and the ways in which employers are able to freely access all of an employee’s communications.
“Privacy is considered to be of great importance in Europe,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert. “Hence, there was a great outcry when the court originally decided to green-light the law which would allow employers free reign to read their employees’ emails and messages.”
Wilson says that the overturning of the law has reignited workplace privacy discussions in the States. “This is an issue that is of growing concern as many employers are now using apps to track their remote employees’ productivity. For example, apps that take screenshots of an employee’s computer or apps that track what sites an employee visits and how long they stay are. As we enter this new world of a largely remote workforce, issues of privacy are going to be of growing concern.”
For now, Wilson says that employers should cover all their bases by making sure to alert employees that any and all workplace communication is not considered private. “Your employees should be fairly warned that any messages they send on company property are able to be accessed and viewed by you. Privacy isn’t a right afforded to employees who are using their work computer to hang out on Facebook or write personal messages to coworkers.”