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What information your employer can and cannot monitor

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Employment Law

As an employee, you have access to various workplace facilities, equipment and devices. Your employer may implement monitoring measures to ensure the security of company resources, maintain productivity and comply with legal requirements.

The California Privacy Rights Act provides strict guidelines on how your personal information may be collected, stored and used by employers, ensuring that your privacy rights are upheld and protected in the workplace.

What can your employer monitor?

California employers are allowed to monitor:

  • Work-related communications on company-owned devices or platforms.
  • Internet usage on company networks.
  • Security footage in common areas of the workplace.
  • Employee performance and productivity metrics within reason.
  • Compliance with company policies and legal regulations.

Social media monitoring is permitted within certain bounds, but employers cannot forcibly obtain login information from employees for personal social media accounts.

What shouldn’t your employer monitor?

While the law provides flexibility for certain monitoring activities, employers should refrain from the following:

  • Monitoring personal communications conducted on employees’ personal devices or during non-work hours.
  • Monitoring private areas where employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, changing rooms and private offices.
  • Engaging in discriminatory monitoring practices based on protected characteristics like race, gender, religion or disability.
  • Using covert surveillance or monitoring methods that undermine employees’ trust or dignity.
  • Using monitoring as a means of harassment or intimidation against employees exercising their rights or engaging in protected activities such as union organizing or whistleblowing.

Employers are required to inform employees about the types of monitoring conducted in the workplace and the purposes for which it is conducted, as well as any potential consequences for violating company policies regarding the acceptable use of company resources.

Reaching out to our firm can help you understand your rights under the California Privacy Rights Act and can help you to explore your legal options if you believe your employer has violated those rights as a result of improper monitoring practices.