To what extent can an employer monitor an employee’s textmessages on an employer-owned phone or pager?
Employees generally don’t have any privacy in their emails atwork. Again, since the email system belongs to the employer, theyare allowed to monitor their employees’ communications.
Employers can also generally monitor employee’s phone calls forquality control purposes. They are supposed to cease monitoringonce they are aware that the call is personal, though. If there isa policy in place against personal calls, however, the employer canlisten to enough of the call to determine that it is personal, andthe employee may still face disciplinary action for the personalcall even if the employer didn’t listen to the entire call.
Some states, such as California, require that all parties to amonitored phone conversation receive notice about the monitoring.If your state has such a law, your employer is required to informyou if they plan to monitor your phone calls.
As for text messages on a company phone, The US Supreme Courthas ruled that a city government’s search of text messages — evenpersonal ones — on city-provided pagers was reasonable. Given thatprivate employers usually have much more leeway than publicemployers, this decision suggests that private employers can searchtheir employee’s text messages on company-provided phones.
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