How can employers monitor email and internet use?

Improper use of email and the internet by employees can lead to issues ranging from job performance problems, damage to business reputation, loss of business and all manner of other offences. It is only natural that employers will want to manage the situation by monitoring the use of email and the internet.

Employers must tread carefully however and be mindful of the legal maze which includes the right to privacy under the Employment Rights Act 1998, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000. Added to this is the implied term of trust and confidence which runs through all employment contracts, the breach of which may lead to a claim for constructive dismissal.

Many employers recognise the need for Electronic Communication Policies covering (amongst other things):

  • Standards of conduct and performance
  • Examples of inappropriate use, which may be dealt with under a disciplinary procedure
  • A requirement that the employer standard disclaimer must be used
  • The restrictions on personal use
  • The purpose and types of monitoring and who will have access
  • Responsibility for the policy
  • Subject access rights
  • Guidance on blogging and use of social networking sites.

If you like help with your Electronic Communication Policies or for more information on any of the issues above, give one of our employment experts a call on 0113 201 4900 for a free, initial discussion.

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