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Your Computer Privacy In The Workplace

Have you ever emailed a friend from your employee email account, used facebook at work or done a bit of online shopping over your lunch break? Ever wondered how much of your online activity can be stored or seen by your employer?

As employment law attorneys, we have seen many workers and their employers engaged in disputes over workplace privacy. Read on to learn what your employer can see - and how you can protect your privacy at work.

Colorado Law Protects Social Media Accounts

In 2014, Colorado lawmakers enacted the Social Media and the Workplace Law. The law barred employers from requesting login information for employees' or applicants' social media accounts. Employers also may not request that you change your privacy settings or add anyone as a contact.

This protects your accounts from being accessed by your employer - but what happens if you log in from work?

Can Your Employer Monitor Your Computer?

Generally, yes. Employers usually own the physical hardware and the computer networks used by employees. Because of this, they are typically allowed to monitor a computer's screen display, keystrokes or idle time. If you are not familiar with your company's computer monitoring policy, it is wise to familiarize yourself with it.

Of course, many unpleasant conversations with your boss or HR representative can be prevented by acting as if all your online activity is being monitored.

How Else Can I Protect My Privacy?

  • Get to know your employer's data security and privacy policies.
  • Keep record of any communication with your employer about workplace privacy. If your employer has made promises about privacy, it generally must honor its policies the law.
  • Even if you have taken privacy precautions with your social media accounts, consider the implications of anything you post being seen by a colleague or employer.
  • If you wear a headset at work, know that your conversations may be recorded or monitored even when you are speaking with your colleagues.
  • If you have serious concerns about workplace privacy or your legal rights, it is always wise to speak with an attorney. Most employment lawyers offer free consultations and are eager to help you protect your interests.

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