Sunday, July 13, 2008

Employment Law: More on Employers Giving Employees Technology's HANDLE WITH CARE takes a different slant than the usual article on the topic:

"Your new job comes with a company-furnished PDA, cellphone and laptop computer. Sweet! What's not to like about free technology?

But, before you tell all your friends your new number or start downloading from your favorite Web sites, best check the small print in the employee handbook. Most companies have guidelines, rules and policies concerning the use of their equipment. Some employers use software to monitor technology use; all are capable of retrieving data in case of suspected wrongdoing."


Written and spoken policies can help employees understand their responsibility to protect the equipment and information entrusted to them. That responsibility doesn't end at the workplace. Leaving a company computer in an unlocked car is careless; loaning it to a friend and putting customer information at risk is misuse and could end in firing or litigation.

"Employees need to be aware that the technology devices they use are company-owned assets. Anything you put on your cellphone or laptop that is personal and confidential could be monitored and accessed by the company," said Brenda Standridge, director of technical services for Simmons Bedding Co.

There should be no expectation of privacy. Threatening e-mails to your ex-spouse, test results from your doctor or lawsuit-strategy discussions with your attorney don't belong on your work computer. Neither do visits to salacious Web sites or online betting pools. If your computer is found to have child pornography on it, your company may have a legal obligation to report you to the federal authorities.