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Monitoring employees? What employers must know

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2021 | employment law

The concept of monitoring employees is nothing new in the workplace.

It is a common practice to ensure employees meet production goals efficiently. Even though it is common, California employers must make sure they comply with the law to avoid complex legal issues and disputes with their employees.


The primary goal of monitoring employees at work is to protect the company as a whole. It allows employers to ensure their records are accurate, their employees are safe and their property is secure.

Common methods that employers use for monitoring often include:

  • Timecards to track the hours employees work
  • Security cameras in the workplace to increase efficiency and safety
  • GPS tracking, especially for commercial drivers

Even so, employers must consider privacy. This is especially critical in the new reality of working remotely.


Working from home full time is a whole new territory for many. It is forcing employers to change how their business operates. And it is also requiring them to adjust their methods of monitoring employee productivity. While monitoring employees may be legal, virtual work can pose many challenges to employers.

So, what must employers consider as they move forward? When it comes to monitoring practices, all employers should:

  1. Inform their employees: The Harvard Business Review recommends that employers be transparent and respectful with their employees in their monitoring practices. Tell them the purpose of monitoring, as well as how the company will supervise them on the job. It is common to provide this information in the employee handbook or the employment contract.
  2. Consider the legal impacts: California law states that employers can monitor employees’ communication and activity on company devices. Therefore, employers can monitor workers remotely. However, they must take note of the recent amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that cover employees’ private information as well.

Working remotely might change the landscape of employee monitoring needs and practices. But employers must make sure they approach this issue with great care. It may be helpful for employers to consult an experienced business attorney to make sure they understand the laws protecting employees’ privacy, so they do not violate their rights.