March 3, 2017
Authored by: Bryan Cave and David Zetoony
Retailers should be aware that federal laws prohibit the interception of another’s electronic communications, but these same laws have multiple exceptions that generally allow employers to monitor employees’ email and internet use on employer-owned equipment or networks.
As a result, under federal law, when retail employees use an organization’s telephone or computer system, monitoring their communications is broadly permissible, though there may be exceptions once the personal nature of a communication is determined. For example, under the National Labor Relations Act, employers cannot electronically spy on certain types of concerted activity by employees about the terms and conditions of employment.
Although monitoring is broadly permitted under federal law, some states, including Connecticut and Delaware, require that employers notify employees that they may be monitored. Even in states that do not require notice, employers often choose to provide notice since employees who know they are being monitored are less likely to