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Does Your Employer Have the Right to Spy on You?

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Have a Legal Question?

Illinois does have laws in place allowing employers to monitor employee’s work-day activities; however, prior consent must be obtained.  In other words, an employer cannot legally record a conversation, and then ask for permission from all of the parties, but must ask for consent to record the conversation before it takes place.  The consent must be expressed consent and not implied consent.

There is an exception to this law of requiring ALL parties to consent to the recording. The Business Use Exception where the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) allows conversations to be recorded “within the ordinary course of an employer’s business and where the employer has a legal interest in the subject matter of the conversation.”

Allowed Areas of Recording of Employee Conversations

The Business Use Exception specifically allows for businesses in the following areas to record employee conversations for the purpose of quality control or employee training:

  • Telephone solicitation
  • Marketing research
  • Opinion Research

If the recorded conversation is deemed irrelevant to the above purposes, the recording must be destroyed within a reasonable timeframe.

If an employer is found guilty of violating the law by illegally recording employee’s conversations, unrelated to the employer’s business, the employer can receive up to five years in prison.

There are other methods that employers use to determine if their employees are misusing the time they are supposed to be working. These are normally left unchallenged, and often include monitoring websites visited by the employees, office emails, and requiring employees to clock in and out at the start and end of work.

Employment Law Representation

If you have concerns regarding the legal right of your employer to spy on you, contact an employment attorney at Goldman & Ehrlich for a consultation today.