As debates rage across America with respect to matters of privacy – it’s important for Connecticut employers to review their personnel policies to make sure they are fully compliant with current Connecticut law.
To assist in that endeavor, the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale have created the following privacy and monitoring checklist. If you answer no to any of the questions below – you may have an issue that deserves immediate attention.
- Has the Company posted a notice of privacy protection for personally identifiable information (such as driver’s license numbers, credit or debit card numbers, bank account numbers, identification card numbers, passport numbers, alien registration numbers, and health insurance identification numbers) and adopted and implemented a policy with procedures in place to demonstrate how it will, in fact, accomplish the safeguarding (and proper destruction) of such personal information?
- If the Company conducts any type of electronic monitoring in the workplace (i.e., monitoring of e-mail, voice-mail, computers etc.), has the Company issued prior written notice of monitoring to employees who may be affected by monitoring, stating the type of monitoring that may occur, and posted such notice where employees can readily view it (and included a monitoring policy in a handbook)?
- Has the Company implemented a written policy stating that it retains the right to conduct property searches in the workplace at any time without advance notice, including searches of employee work areas, desks, lockers, file cabinets, mail, briefcases, handbags and cars (if parked in Company parking lots)?
- Does the Company conduct property searches that are “justified at inception” (i.e., based on reasonable suspicion) and “permissible in scope” (i.e., the measures used are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and are not excessively intrusive)?
- If the Company seeks to monitor telephone calls to and from the workplace, has the Company obtained the consent of all parties to the call (pursuant to Connecticut law) either verbally, as a result of a recorded message at the beginning of the call, or by a recorded tone warning the parties every 15 seconds that they are being recorded?
- If the Company conducts video surveillance of employees and/or the worksite, does the Company prohibit such surveillance activities (under Connecticut law) in areas designated for health or professional comfort or for safeguarding of employee possessions, such as restrooms, locker rooms, or lounges?
- Does the Company have a policy restricting Internet access and e-mail use for business purposes only during working time (i.e., the time an employee is engaged or should be engaged in performing his/her duties for the Company)?
- Does the Company have a policy allowing limited personal use of Internet and e-mail access during non-working time, to the extent that such use does not interfere with the Company’s business operations or others who are working, does not cause the Company to incur any additional expenses, and does not otherwise violate any Company policies or procedures or applicable laws?
- Does the Company have a policy prohibiting employees from taking, distributing or posting pictures, videos or audio recordings while on working time (see definition above), in order to ensure employee safety and safety of Company equipment, prevent unlawful harassment, maintain individual privacy, encourage open communication, avoid unnecessary distractions and protect confidential business-related information of the Company from being improperly disclosed? Employees are prohibited from taking, distributing or posting pictures, videos or audio recordings while on working time.
- Does the Company have a policy (for some of the same reasons identified above) requiring employees who seek to take, distribute or post pictures, videos or audio recordings of people at the Company (such as other employees, clients or others doing business with the Company) while on non-working time to notify and obtain permission from such individuals first?
- Does the Company have a policy prohibiting employees from taking, distributing or posting pictures, videos or audio recordings of any confidential business-related information of the Company at any time?
- Does the Company have a policy prohibiting employees from taking pictures or making recordings of work areas at any time, except if the employee were engaging in any activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act including, for example, taking pictures of health, safety and/or working condition concerns and/or other protected concerted activities, as long as such pictures, videos or audio recordings do not disclose any confidential business-related information of the Company?
- Does the Company have a policy prohibiting employees from plugging in any storage devices, USB drives, media cards or any other personal storage device into the Company’s network or Company owned hardware unless for business purposes only with approval by the Company so as to minimize the risk of employee theft of confidential business-related information?
If you are an employer in Connecticut and and answered no to any of the questions above, consider discussing the matter with attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. Each of us has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment and labor law and can help you with this complicated topic. Please call us if we can help you.
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