There’s no question that as we dive deeper into the information age technology will continue to permeate the workplace. Tech gadgets such as iPhones and Blackberries are cheaper and more convenient than ever before. But as the workplace becomes inundated with these tech tools, businesses increasingly have to ask themselves how they can manage the corresponding legal risks inevitably raised by empowering a legion of employees armed with Smartphones. If only there was “an app for that”!
The “fuel” for many gadgets currently in the workplace is data, which may or may not relate to the employer. And I’m not just thinking of Smartphones provided by the employer. I’m also thinking of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are often accessed after work hours on employees’ home computers.
What happens when an employer uses data gleaned from a company-owed iPhone or Blackberry to monitor an employee in the workplace? What about monitoring an employee’s Facebook page? After all, it’s not uncommon for information about an employer or its clients to appear on an employee’s Facebook page. Further, some employees have no second thoughts whatsoever about posting personal messages during paid company time. Many employers are introducing social media policies to mitigate the resulting legal risks. But how far should employers go to protect their interests?
Today’s post is the first in a series that I’ll publish in the coming weeks to provide you with an overview of legal developments regarding monitoring in the workplace, with a focus on employer monitoring of employee social media and Smartphone activities. Upcoming posts will also examine workplace privacy issues related to email, video and GPS monitoring. Stay tuned…
In the meantime, click here to listen to my recent CJOB|68 radio interview with Human Resources specialist Barbara Bowes in which we discuss privacy issues in the workplace. You may also want to attend a complimentary Social Media in the Workplace webinar that I’ll be providing with a few of my colleagues next week (May 19th). Click here for info and to register (space is limited so register soon).