Originally posted on Recruiter.com on March 4, 2014
Last year, IKEA France found itself in the hot seat when news of its privacy policies surfaced. The company spent $654,170 on private investigators to spy on its employees. The investigations resulted in Virginie Paulin losing her job in the company after she was reportedly not sick enough to warrant a year’s worth of medical leave.
It’s hard to believe that employees of companies in the United States find themselves facing termination due to workplace investigations; however, another case of an employee being fired for his personal life occurred in Manhattan’s Lacoste store. Top salesman for the company, Wade Groom, was fired for posting a paycheck to his personal Instagram.
The comment he placed with the photo wasn’t negative toward Lacoste and simply expressed his distaste for the living conditions he could afford with the job he held. Though Lacoste wasn’t mentioned, two weeks later, Groom was fired for infringing on the company’s confidentiality agreement. When asked if he signed the agreement or if he remembered any references to social media, he said, “I just clicked ‘accept terms’ on that, you know?”
It’s no mystery that companies have privacy policies in place to keep employees in check; but what can your employer legally include in these agreements?
Here are six legal ways a company can spy on its employees, according to author Donna Ballman:
1. Monitor searches and social media
Sure, the NSA is looking out for suspicious Google terms, but they aren’t the only ones concerned with your internet habits. Your employer will know if you’re looking at risqué photos or Facebook stalking your coworkers. Additionally, whether it’s a work or personal email, your employer may be reading your inbox.
It all comes down to who is providing the internet you’re using to do these activities. If you’re on company bandwidth, they can check up on your internet activity.
2. Counting keystrokes
It’s called “keylogging” and there are programs that can be used on your computer to see everything from usernames to passwords. There are parts of The Stored Communication Act and Federal Wiretap Act that may protect a few of your rights; but similar to company bandwidth, if you’re using company hardware, you run the risk of being watched.