The Data Protection Act may allow organizations and companies to collect and use information from their employees, but they may not do so excessively, thereby needing employee monitoring policy samples to properly regulate monitoring. In addition, the information has to be relevant and must be used in an appropriate manner. They will need to be taken into account if you are collecting information about your employees, like credit references, in order to monitor them.
There are a lot of methods that can be used to monitor employees. The most common of these is closed-circuit television or CCTV, most commonly used to provide video feeds of certain areas over time and in real-time. Companies also hire people to analyze computer usage logs to see if employees have misused and abused the system and to scan emails that are sent within, sent outside of and received by users of the company domain. Using these methods of monitoring protects company assets like employees and computers. It also makes safeguards employees in the workplace, for example, by preventing sexual harassment charges.
How To Properly Practice Employee Monitoring.
Monitoring should maintain an equilibrium with the rights of your employees in keeping their private lives, well, private. This is because all forms of employee monitoring are, in one way or another, intrusive. The balancing portions of monitoring laws are mostly based on the Human Rights Act that states “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and correspondence.” If you are going to create a monitoring practice, it should be guided by truthfulness. Further, you should be able to make your employees see the benefits of having a monitoring practice in the company. You also must be able to justify monitoring to other parties like law enforcement if the practice is unfavorable to your employees.
Your employees expect a certain measure of privacy in the workplace. As such, they should be informed about nature, scope, and rationale for any monitoring practice you come up with. And don’t inform them after the fact, it will only come back to bite you in the end. If your employees are aware that they will be monitored, there will no longer be an expectation of privacy. CCTV areas should always have signs indicating the use of these cameras, and you should regularly send out reminders through email that their activities are logged in the system, monitored and analyzed. This acts as a powerful deterrent to those employees who would ignore company policies.
Creating The Policy For Employee Monitoring.
The first thing that you need to do before you implement the practice is to put all of its stipulations into writing. You need to document everything and all the justifications and reasons why the company needs to monitor its employees. The verbiage of a watertight employee monitoring policy should include all of these statements or their equivalent:
- Company assets, including Internet usage, e-mail, and voice mails should only be used for business needs.
- The employer shall have the right to track e-mail, Internet usage, and voicemail messages. He shall reserve the right to disclose the contents of voice mail and e-mail when, at his discretion and even when the contents have been deleted, the business needs that he do so.
- The employee may use company assets for personal only occasionally. However, the employer shall have the right to monitor all personal usage of employees the same way that the company monitors the business usage of these assets.
- The company domain and all related communication systems therein shall not be used to create and run an employee’s personal business. It will also not be used to send out obscene, derogatory, illegal or offensive materials. Employees shall not download the aforementioned material from the Internet. Violation thereof shall be grounds for termination of tenure.
- Voice mail messages, logs of Internet and computer usage, and e-mails within the company domain are neither private nor confidential. Employees with accounts marked as personal or can only be accessed using a personal log-in should not expect privacy as well.
- All employees should exercise extreme caution when creating and transmitting e-mails. They should implement the same restraint as when they are writing a company memorandum using the official letterhead. They should assume that their e-mail messages will be saved by the system and reviewed by a person other than the addressee.
- Whatever the company uses for data security, the employees should remember that they are prohibited from passing on company secrets and sensitive information using e-mail. These can be grounds for termination of tenure.
- By using the company’s communications system, employees hereby consent to monitor, in all forms and methods, of the same.
- The conditions for continued use of company assets and systems are set on acceptance and strict observance of the company’s monitoring and usage policies. Failure to comply with the stipulations of the policies will lead to disciplinary action and continued non-compliance will result in dismissal.
How To Enforce These Policies.
Now that you have developed the policy, it is now time to prepare for its implementation. Employers would do well to remember that constant enforcement of the policies is key to its success. Here are some guidelines that business owners should follow:
The company should announce the effective date of the policy using a memo or an e-mail. It should properly convey to the employees why the practice will be adopted.
There should be a select group of employees that will be charged with monitoring responsibilities. These employees will have no other mandate except to make sure that the implementation of the practice is consistent with the guidelines. If there are to be deviations from the monitoring policy, only higher management or human resources should be allowed to authorize the departure from convention.
There should be a system to delete all voice mail and e-mail messages, along with any backup copies, in the domain, except those that are currently used in litigation or will be used in the foreseeable future.
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