Despite other means of communication, email still remains a fundamental one for all employees, staff workers, as well as the employer. The contents of employee emails can be a matter of great interest to the employer as they’d want to know what their employees have been communicating about.
Before we can discuss the right way to monitoring employee email, we need to understand why email monitoring is important for every business and what makes an employer monitor their employees’ emails.
Why Monitoring Employee Email is Important?
Employers want to monitor their employees’ emails to ensure the company policies and procedures are correctly being followed and that the employees are communicating properly with other coworkers and clients in appropriate and effective ways. Moreover, monitoring employee email would also let employers know whether or not the employees are engaging with others in troublesome or questionable behaviors.
Most importantly, employers want to monitor their employees’ emails because they want to make sure their employees are not sharing the company’s confidential data with outsiders including competitors. Monitoring employee activity prevents a major data breach in the company which ensures the company’s safety.
While employers consider installing monitoring tools in the workplace, they should also keep in mind that employees also have privacy rights. However, those rights are fewer in the workplace than they have in their personal lives.
Let’s now understand how monitoring employee email is done the right way.
Monitoring the Company Email
Generally, every employer has the right to monitor their employees’ work emails, especially when all the messages are stored on the company’s email server. This happens when the employee’s email address is something like “email@example.com.”
During the time an employee is hired in the company, they are told that the employer will have access to their work emails and that they can monitor them whenever they want. In such cases, an employee cannot object against anything as long as the employer only wants access to the work emails.
The employer should only monitor the work emails because they have a genuine business interest and they want to know what sort of communication their employees are having with other staff members and customers.
Most employees would not like to get their work and emails get monitored by the company. However, there is not much they can do about it. They won’t be upset as long as their personal privacy is not being invaded and only work emails are being monitored.
Every employer should clearly mention the monitoring policies and procedures to their employees so the latter does not feel offended. The company email will be subject to monitoring and this should be clearly communicated to every employee working in the company.
Communicating this statement to the employee will remove their expectation of privacy but it may also be a strict warning for them. If employees are aware that their work email is subject to monitoring, they may be less likely to engage in unsuitable behaviors through email and also avoid sharing the company’s private data with any outsider.
Employees should bear in mind that since the work emails are stored on the company’s server, they can be monitored anytime by the employer even if the employees have marked them as private. Everything stored on the company’s server can be stored by the employer.
Monitoring the Personal Email
An employee’s personal email cannot be monitored by the company as the personal emails are not stored on the company server. Employee’s personal emails such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. cannot be monitored so the employees have a greater right to privacy when it comes to personal emails.
Employers may not be able to access emails that are stored on an external email server without getting permission from the employee. If an employee grants permission to monitor their personal emails, only then the employer can access them.
Employers cannot access personal emails of their employees even if those email accounts have been created using the company equipment. Because the emails are stored on the outsider server, employers cannot monitor those emails.
When it comes to work emails, employers have all the right to access them and monitor them since they are stored on the company’s email server. If an employee engages in bad behavior over the company email, the employer can discipline them over the content of such an email. However, if the same thing happens over a personal email, the employer cannot say anything to the employee as they do not have the right to access their personal emails.
Monitoring Employees’ Emails the Right Way
The restrictions on personal emails do not mean that employees can do anything over them. The employer can still track all the sites an employee visits while using the company’s device and can discipline them who misusing the computer and internet usage at work. Similarly, employee internet monitoring can be done with monitoring solutions.
If an employee is found spending hours a day on their personal email site, they can be disciplined about it. However, they cannot be disciplined for the email content though. Employers can block the personal email sites if they want, especially when they see their employees spending way too much time on them.