It's natural to want to keep tabs on what employees are doing and saying over employer-provided equipment. But employers had better think twice before monitoring any electronic message content that's stored and transmitted by an outside provider.
A recent case describes limitations on employers' ability to obtain and review employees' text messages stored and transmitted by an outside provider without the employees' permission.
A California city's police department pagers used text-messaging services provided by a third party. The city had a policy on computer usage, Internet, and e-mail that prohibited personal use, affirmed employees' lack of privacy and confidentiality, and reserved the city's right to monitor and review activity. However, it had no official policy governing the use of pagers; its informal policy simply asked employees to pay for overage charges in the event they exceeded a monthly charact...(register to read more)