Is It OK To Spy On Your Employees?

According to a survey by the American Management Association International, two-thirds of businesses eavesdrop on their employees in some fashion -- whether through email tracking, Internet usage, by videotape or over the phone. And in just about every situation, they have a right to do so.

Employers have the fiduciary responsibility to protect the business they are working in, and part of that responsibility is to ensure that employees are not abusing the rules and regulations of the business.

Technology has allowed the ability to monitor employee activity very easily. But rest assured -- most employers don't set out to spy on their employees, but usually do when there is reason to suspect that a risk is real.

How real is the risk? After some Chevron Corporation employees sent sexually harassing email through the company's system, Chevron was forced to pay the victims $2.2 million. Had they been monitoring the email system, they could have avoided the problems.

Workplace privacy has escalated into a raging debate as the capabilities of technology increase. Only one federal law exists which addresses workplace privacy. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act forbids employers to eavesdrop on email and telephone conversations once it is clear that those communications are of a personal nature. Beyond that, each state is grappling with its own way to handle the issue.

You may like these other stories...

From May 20-23, the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) held its annual conference. Frequent contributor Sally Glick picked up some ideas that she will be sharing with us in the coming days, as she has done in...
Success, for a practitioner in a busy CPA firm, requires the ability to handle multiple tasks effectively. To get everything done, CPAs typically track their agenda with a "to do" list or other open-item systems to...
Everyone loses clients. You've seen the statistics. Clients and heirs often change accountants, attorneys, and advisors after a death or divorce. That's understandable. What about ongoing relationships when the...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.