As new technologies continue to appear, employers keep gaining new ways to lawfully monitor their employees while they’re doing their jobs. Yet as tempting as it may be to keep an eye on nearly everything your workers are doing, it’s still important to make ethical choices.                       

According to one recent article, the field of telematics is opening up many of these monitoring opportunities for employers and others. Stated simply, telematics is “remote monitoring via technology.” You may have seen it in action without fully realizing it while observing a truck driver delivering a package to your door. These employees must constantly enter information into their handheld devices that state the time they made deliveries (or attempted them) throughout the day. This allows employers to make sure that no time is being wasted. While it’s great for stopping lazy employees from wasting time, many people are now wondering if all of this monitoring isn’t going a bit too far.

Other Common Examples of Employers Monitoring Offsite Employees

  • Employers in all 50 states are allowed to place GPS devices in all of their company vehicles which let them monitor how well their employees are driving and where exactly they’re currently located. You don’t even have to tell your employees you’re doing this;
  • Except for businesses located in Connecticut and Delaware, employers are generally allowed to monitor their workers’ office-issued electronics that allow them to send “emails, texts, and other types of electronic communications;”
  • You can even provide your offsite telecommuters with computers that allow you to monitor their every keystroke. While this level of intense monitoring is possible, some experts say it’s one of the quickest ways to destroy employee morale. Nevertheless, you are free to do this if you truly believe it’s necessary or advantageous. However, your employees may choose to work for less intrusive companies or become self-employed.  If an employee is highly productive, you should really think twice about penalizing that person for a short period of time off the clock. After all, he/she may just be taking a brief coffee break or picking up their kids from school.

Additional Reasons Some Employers Like to Closely Monitor their Employees

  • To obtain more productivity data when they can’t personally be present at every office location. This may actually be a good move, assuming you’re obeying all relevant state laws that govern this type of monitoring. After all, at least one study has documented that “watched workers [who know they’re being monitored] work harder;”
  • When employee theft is getting out of control – or if you’re just eager to prevent it in the first place. In one study, when restaurant employees were told they were being monitored at all times while on the job, there was a documented 22 percent decrease in theft;
  • To better maintain safety for your workers and workplace equipment. People are far less likely to cause trouble in any workplace when they know its owners are remotely monitoring the premises at all times -- both indoors and outdoors. Furthermore, savvy crooks and thugs may also realize that neighboring businesses may pick up their images as they come and go – should they try to steal anything from you or harm employees on your premises.

Whatever you decide is ethical regarding employee monitoring, be sure to run it by your Peachtree City business attorney to make sure you’re abiding by all applicable laws. Also, give serious thought to the message you’re sending your employees about how much you trust them.  

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.

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