Can Employers Monitor Their Employees’ Online Activity?

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Can Employers Monitor Their Employees’ Online Activity?

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We live and work in a digital world, where most tasks are performed online. Whether you are a remote worker or rely on a computer or device in the office, you are probably being digitally monitored even if you do not realize it. Employers monitor their employees’ online activity for various reasons. The ethics behind their tracking can be questionable. Many people condemn the use of online monitoring, while others acknowledge its use in the workplace. If you have questions regarding employee monitoring or require legal representation for a workplace issue, a skilled Atlanta employment rights attorney can offer experienced assistance.

Is Monitoring Employees’ Online Activity Legal?

Simply, yes, in the United States, it is perfectly legal to monitor employee online activity. As long as the employee is using a company-owned computer or device, there are very few things that an employer cannot legally monitor. They can see what websites the employee visits, emails sent and received, how much time is spent online, and more.

Under the ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) the federal government has regulated employee privacy in several ways, including the following.

  • Employers can monitor emails sent by employees on company-owned devices
  • Employers can monitor all online activities on company-owned devices
  • Additional monitoring may be possible with consent from the employee
  • Employers must abide by privacy laws and not share information about their employees that may be obtained during this monitoring, especially if it violates HIPPA laws

Why Do Employers Monitor Their Employees?

Employers might have a plethora of reasons why they wish to track their employees’ online activities. Some reasons are so the employer can:

  • Protect sensitive business information
  • Prevent internal theft
  • Examine and improve productivity
  • Gain insight into the behavior of remote employees
  • Prevent idle and wasted time
  • Collect data
  • Make sure company property and time are being used appropriately

How Do Employers Track Their Workers?

There are various methods of monitoring that an employer may implement depending on the industry and type of work their employees do. The following is a list of general ways that business owners and employers keep tabs on their employees.

Website and browser tracking software

  • Through this, an employer can track what websites or apps are visited and when, and even the employee’s keystrokes.

Email access and tracking software

  • An employer can look at emails sent, received, and even deleted by the employee.

Time/attendance tracking software

  • This can record what time employees are logging on and off, keep track of time taken off work, and evaluate productivity levels.


  • This is particularly useful for companies that rely on drivers, such as shipping, delivery, or car service companies to get updates of where their drivers are and how long they are taking to get from one place to another.

Video surveillance

  • An employer can monitor the behavior of their employees and whether someone is stealing, damaging property, or behaving inappropriately.

Website restriction

  • An employer may choose to ban certain websites if they are inappropriate or have been shown to distract employees.

Our Philosophy

Our firm hand-selects challenging, complex cases that other attorneys won’t touch so we can deliver the highly-personalized attention your case deserves. From consultation to trial, we advocate for employees’ rights, every step of the way.

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We base our practice on the principles of service and care. We take the time to truly know each and every client, and we put all of our energy into obtaining the best outcome possible, time and time again.

Our Definition Of Success

We will prosecute your case to the fullest extent possible. If you’ve been wronged by an employer in Georgia, you can count on Ben Barrett Law to fight for you.

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