Is Employee Monitoring A Legal Activity?

When employers monitor their employees electronically, they should evaluate the benefits and risks and acquaint themselves with applicable laws. This article looks at different electronic monitoring methods an employer can use, how it affects privacy, and what laws regulate its legality.

What is an employee monitoring and what does it cover?

Employee monitoring at the workplace is a practice that involves collecting and analysing the actions of employees to ensure they are working per the guidelines. Employee monitoring can help improve performance, reduce turnover, and ensure that all relevant laws and regulations are met.

Employee monitoring can cover a wide range of activities in an organisation, including:


  • Timekeeping

Record when employees arrive and leave work and how many hours they work each day.

  • Computer use

Monitor what applications they use on company-owned computers. You can also check whether employees use their own devices or company-owned devices while working. You can restrict access to certain websites through software or proxy servers.


  • Remote access

Track which devices access the network remotely and how often they do so. You can restrict remote access by device type or location.

  • Email and messaging

Scan email messages for keywords like “vacation” or “uniform” to see if an employee plans on taking time off without approval. You can also scan chat rooms for inappropriate language or behaviour, such as bullying.

Monitoring Employees Is A Legal Activity


If you have ever wondered whether or not it is legal to monitor, the answer is yes. Monitoring employees is not just common practice but is essential in some cases. For example, if you are a manager or owner, you should ensure that your employees are doing their jobs well and following your policies and procedures.

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You should monitor them at some point during the day—or even all day long. In addition to being mandatory in some situations, monitoring is helpful for employers. For example, if they know about monitoring, they may be more inclined to work harder and follow company rules more closely than they would otherwise. You can collect the data and do personal data processing to gather insights.

What activities can employers monitor?

Here are various activities employers can monitor.

  • Social media usage

Employers have a right to monitor an employee’s use of social media at the workplace. Employers cannot monitor personal accounts, but they have the right to monitor social media usage at work. The employer must notify that employees’ internet usage gets tracked and the use of that information.

If an employer monitors an employee’s social media usage, they cannot read private messages or look at pictures unless they have a good reason for doing so.

  • Internet usage

If you are an employer concerned about your internet usage, here is some good news: you can monitor it. If you have concerns about your employees’ internet usage, it might feel like there is no way to find out what they do online. But do not worry as there are plenty of ways to monitor their internet usage without them knowing.

Monitoring your employees’ internet usage is one of the best ways to ensure they stay on task and get work done. You can see if they spend too much time on social media or watch videos when they should be working. If they spend too much time on these activities, then it is up to you to decide how to handle that behaviour.

  • Screen content

There are different ways to monitor the screen content of employees. You can use desktop software that records the computer screen. Another option is to use web-based software that logs all activities on a computer. These programs usually get installed on a computer without any knowledge.

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It is also possible for employers to install spyware programs that allow them to monitor everything that happens on their computers even when they are not present in the office.


  • Emails

In today’s workplace, it is common for employers to monitor emails. You can do this via the employer’s email system or by installing software on the employee’s computer that tracks their communications. It is legal in most cases and the right thing to do, as it helps ensure that employees stay focused on work and not waste time on personal matters while at work.

Employers can monitor employees’ emails to prevent and detect violations of company policy, fraud, and theft. Employers also have a right to monitor email communications if they have reasonable cause to suspect that an employee is engaged in illegal activity.

Best practices to monitor employee activities at the workplace

Monitoring employee activities at the workplace is essential to ensuring security. With the right tools like and a few best practices, you can monitor employee activities and ensure your employees work in a safe environment.

We have outlined some tips below to help you get started:

  • Ensure your employees know that monitoring is happening. You do not want to surprise people with monitoring tools because it will make them feel like you are spying on them.
  • Be transparent about why monitoring is happening and what you are looking for. For example, if an employee has been behaving suspiciously lately, explain that you are using monitoring tools to ensure they do not do anything illegal while working at the office.
  • Ensure you have a clear policy regarding what activities can be monitored by management or HR staff. Everyone will know what’s expected from them and why they should abide by company rules.
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Bottom line

The reason you are monitoring your employees’ computers is as essential as the method you use. Ensure that you have a legitimate reason for doing so and that you let your people know why you are monitoring their computers. If an employee suspects that you are tracking them for nefarious intent, they may want to consult with a lawyer to determine legal action.