Does Your Firm Monitor Employees at Work?

In April 2001 the American Management Association published its annual survey on workplace monitoring and surveillance.

The survey found that 78 percent of employers of large U.S. firms are recording and reviewing their employee’s electronic communications. This surveillance includes the storage and review of telephone conversations, voice mail and e-mail messages, and computer files. Employers are also reportedly monitoring Internet connections and video taping employee performance.

The prevalence of electronic monitoring has doubled since the first AMA survey in 1997. Monitoring, for the most part, takes the form of spot-checking employees rather than 24-hour surveillance. Of those surveyed, 90 percent said they let their employees know that they are being monitored.

According to the survey, two thirds of the employers have disciplined employees for abuse of office e-mail or the Internet, and more than one third have dismissed employees for these abuses.

While large companies are more likely to monitor their employees, monitoring is most prevalent in the financial sector (banking, investment houses, insurance and real estate etc.) with 92 percent of firms actively monitoring their employees, and least prevalent in public administration where only 69 percent of organizations monitor employees.

Why Monitor Your Employees?

  • Legal compliance – in the federally regulated telemarketing sector the taping of employees gives some legal protection to both the consumer and the company.

  • Legal liability – employees can sue employers if they are exposed to offensive material on their colleagues’ computer screens.

  • Performance review - employees’ performance can be taped and then reviewed and evaluated with their supervisor to improve job performance.

  • Productivity measures – the amount of time employees spend surfing the net and sending and answering personal e-mails can be determined and fairly regulated for both the employer and the employee.

  • Security concerns – monitoring can be used as a security measure to protect the company’s proprietary information.

You may like these other stories...

Event Date: May 29, 2014 In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA brings you up to speed on the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both...
No field likes its buzzwords more than technology, and one of today's leading terms is "the cloud." But it's not just a matter of knowing what's fashionable. Accounting professionals who know how to use...
There is a growing trend of accountants moving away from traditional compliance work to more advisory work. Client demand is there, but it is up to the accountants to capitalize on that. What should accountants' roles be...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.