Advancing technologies have made cell phones a primary requirement for most people. While the main reason for owning a phone is to communicate, its use has gone beyond basic communication.
Cell phones currently provide a wide array of other services, including important business functions, such as scheduling and other business details, thanks to the increasing adoption of BYOD working models.
Initially, businesses could ban employees from bringing personal devices to work. However, with the BYOD model, employees are allowed to bring and use their cell phones in handling business-related activities. While this is beneficial for businesses, it presents mundane concerns and security risks.
For starters, there are concerns of employees constantly checking their phones and using them to access social media platforms and other websites on company time.
That aside, there is real cybersecurity risk associated with the use of personal devices on the company network. A recent study concluded that it would take only one infected Android app to damage your company network with a DDOS attack.
Can Your Employer Access Your Cell Phone?
With the risks presented above, does your employer have a right to access your cell phone? Generally, employees don’t have much privacy when at work.
Therefore, employers are allowed to monitor their employees phone calls under the guise of quality control. However, they should cease snooping once they ascertain that it is a personal call.
Note that these regulations vary from one organization to another. For instance, if your employer has a policy that prohibits personal calls at work, employers can listen through the call. If they determine that the call was personal, the affected employee might face disciplinary actions.
That aside, some states, such as California, have legal provisions requiring employers to notify their employees before monitoring their phones.
If your state has such laws, your employer should inform you of the intentions to monitor your calls in advance. If you find out that your employer monitors your phone without providing prior notice, consult employment lawyers on filing a legal claim.
Can Your Employer Track Your Personal Email?
The issue surrounding your employers rights to track your email is quite complicated. However, they will monitor your email if you use web-based email accounts, such as Gmail, on your work device during work hours for your personal email account, and you had signed an approval allowing your employer to monitor computer usage.
The only exception to this policy is when employers are barred from accessing union-related emails that employees use during their free time.
Nevertheless, different states have different provisions on this issue. If you feel concerned that your employer is snooping through your personal email, speak to an employment lawyer to clarify this situation.
Even then, you can avoid such problems by not logging into your personal email on business devices.
Can Your Employer Record Your Phone Conversations?
Like phone conversations, employers should have legitimate business reasons before audiotaping their employees.
Generally, though the federal law around this is vague, it allows employers to audiotape their employees without consent if it is not done for criminal purposes.
The provisions also vary as there are some two-party consent states and single-party consent states. Some states have laws that require both parties participating in the conversation to consent before their conversation is recorded. The states include.
- New Hampshire
The other remaining states require consent only from one party, which in most times, is the person participating in recording the conversation. Similarly, if you are concerned that your employer might be audiotaping your conversation, consult employment lawyers about the state provisions in your area.
What is Your Employer Not Allowed to Monitor?
Even with broad permission from federal and state courts allowing employers to monitor their employee activities, there are some restrictions on what employers cannot monitor. They include.
- Personal email – Employers aren’t allowed to monitor personal email accounts used on your personal device. Note that in some positions, such as those carrying important government and business secrets, employers may request to install tracking apps and devices on your phone. Fortunately, you don’t have to comply with their requests. Since it can affect your job, consult with an employment lawyer before signing any agreement.
- Texts – Federal and state laws surrounding employer monitoring of personal texts are quite similar to those of personal emails. The Electric Communications Privacy Act forbids unauthorized access or interception of electronic communication.
Is Your Employer Violating Your Privacy?
Certainly, there are several gray areas in terms of the extent to which employers can monitor employees, especially with the increasing adoption of digital technology.
Generally, the truth as to if your boss can monitor your phone varies from one state to another, and from situation to situation. If you think your employer has invaded your privacy illegally, consult an employment lawyer.