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Electronic monitoring policy  

What is electronic monitoring? 

Electronic monitoring is the use of technology to monitor the activities of employees. This monitoring can be done in a variety of ways. For example, you can use software that monitors computer activities or that preserves e-mails or other documents or logs of Internet access.

What is an electronic monitoring policy? 

An electronic monitoring policy sets out an organization’s monitoring activities and often outlines how it intends to use those records. It’s helpful to inform employees exactly what monitoring activities they are subject to. Given how monitoring can affect privacy expectations, it can be helpful to be upfront about these activities. Employers can also use these policies to help set expectations that these records may be used for disciplinary decisions. 

What should be included in the policy?

In our sample electronic monitoring policy, we have sections on: 

  • Intent 
  • Definitions 
  • Electronic Monitoring Practices 
  • Privacy and Confidentiality 
  • Acknowledgement and Agreement  

We recommend that you use the intent and definitions section to provide some clarity about your purpose in creating the policy. Use the sections on monitoring practices to outline the type of monitoring you perform and the way you conduct this monitoring. Be careful about how much detail you put in this section.

You want your policy to be clear to your employees but don’t want to jeopardize your cybersecurity in the process. The privacy and confidentiality section should outline how you use and protect the information collected through monitoring. This section could refer to or complement your privacy and confidentiality policy. Finally, having your employees sign your policy ensures they have read and understood the contents. Certain jurisdictions may have legislation regarding this topic, so check the applicable legislation and its requirements in your jurisdiction before finalizing your policy. 

When should I use an electronic monitoring policy?

Some jurisdictions require an electronic monitoring policy for certain organizations. If you are in one of these jurisdictions, you may need an electronic monitoring policy to fulfil your legal obligations. For jurisdictions or organizations where there is no legal requirement to have such a policy, you may find it useful to inform your employees of any monitoring activities you undertake. This transparency can be useful if you intend or expect to rely on this monitoring information to make disciplinary decisions. In the age of hybrid work setups, this transparency can also add a layer of protection. Ensure that employees know what information is being monitored and how it is being used when they work from home. 

Looking to update or create an electronic monitoring policy at your organization? Download our free Guide to Essential HR Policies for 15 must-have policies! While geared towards employers in Ontario, every employer across Canada can benefit from auditing their HR policies yearly and adhering to the recommendations in this guide.

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