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Can my Employer Monitor my Internet Use?

Without question, the Internet has changed the way we do business. Walk into any modern office, and you will see scores of Internet-enabled devices, ranging from desktop computers to tablets to smartphones. These devices allow for unprecedented ease of communication and the ability to literally work from anywhere. It also allows employers to monitor the way the employees spend time and company resources more than ever. In some cases, this type of monitoring can lead to adverse employment actions and even termination – which in turn may lead to a discrimination claim.

Employers are generally able to monitor the way that their employees use company-provided Internet and email, and the practice is widespread. In fact, a 2014 survey conducted by the American Management Association indicates the following:

  • 45 percent of companies track time spent at the keyboard, content, and keystrokes
  • 28 percent of employers have fired employees for misusing email
  • 30 percent of employers have fired employees for Internet misuse

Internet and Email Surveillance could Result in Prohibited Employer Action

While it may be legal for employers to monitor the way in which their employees use the Internet, it does not exempt them from laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. Therefore, if an employer discovers information about a particular employee through monitoring his or her Internet use and then acts on it, the employee may have a basis to file a complaint. Examples of this scenario include the following:

  • An employer learns that a woman is pregnant and fires her as a result of her pregnancy
  • An employer learns of a particular employee’s political affiliation and cuts his or her hours
  • An employer learns of an employee’s religious beliefs and fires the employee or makes disparaging remarks
  • An employer learns that an employee is considering filing a harassment complaint and terminates him or her

There are many types of discrimination that may give an employee the right file a legal claim, so it is important to speak with an attorney if you believe you have been the victim of employer discrimination.

Contact an Austin Employment Law Attorney Today to Discuss Your Legal Options

If you believe that you have suffered any type of employment discrimination as a result of your employer’s internet surveillance, you should contact an attorney immediately. In many cases, a skilled Austin employment law attorney can help you keep your job and obtain financial compensation. To schedule a case evaluation, call our office today at 888-985-4087.

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Phone: 512-782-0567

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