When you apply for a new job, you likely take some time to shore up your online presence. This might mean making your social media profiles more private or even deleting photos or posts that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. For better or for worse, this is the world we live in; the digital age makes it possible for employers and prospective employers to find out a lot more about you than ever thought possible in decades past.
What about after you’re hired, though? At that point, you may turn your attention away from your social presence to the workplace and wonder, “What are my privacy rights at work?” It can be challenging to understand the kinds of privacy rights you legally have in the modern workplace. This is where the lines can often get a little blurry.
What Privacy Protections Do I Have at Work?
While many employers have some form of employee monitoring/surveillance system in place, workers still have some basic rights to privacy. Unfortunately, if you’re not aware of your rights, it’s easy for them to be trampled on.
At Feldman Legal Group, our team of employment attorneys serves as a champion for workers’ rights, with the right to privacy being a growing concern. If you think your privacy rights are being violated in the workplace, we encourage you to contact us for a free case assessment.
What Are Your Privacy Rights as an Employee?
Worker privacy rights can be very complicated because the requirements can vary greatly, not just from state to state but from one employer to the next. Of course, state and federal law trump anything that may be written into your employment contract or included in an employee handbook, but your rights to privacy can also vary depending on your employer and the nature of your job. For example, government employees may inherently have some additional privacy rights over non-government employees.
Aside from state-regulated privacy laws, however, you should always ask for a copy of your employee handbook before being hired into a new job. From there, you’ll want to carefully review the handbook for information on employee privacy and specifically employee monitoring. For example, will your work computer be keylogged? Will emails sent and received on your company’s server be monitored?
How Much Employee Monitoring Is Too Much?
These days, it’s not uncommon for employers to monitor their employees’ actions—especially online. In fact, one ABC News study found that about 80% of larger employers monitor worker use of phone, email, and internet.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that while employers do have a right to monitor activity on their own servers (email, Internet, etc.), some employers are taking things too far by finding ways to monitor workers’ use of their own personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This is a potentially slippery slope, and this form of monitoring/surveillance is not legal unless the employer explicitly obtains consent directly from workers.
Can an Employment Attorney Help You?
If you think you’re being illegally monitored on the job or if you have other concerns about your rights to privacy as a worker in Florida, we urge you to schedule a case evaluation with our team at Feldman Legal Group today. We can learn more about the details of your case and advise you on the next steps to take. From there, we can represent you and fight for your rights and best interests every step of the way. Give our office a call to book your free case assessment or to find out more about the legal services we offer.