Possible porn: Can we search computers? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Possible porn: Can we search computers?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. An employee recently complained about re­ceiving inappropriate email messages and links to porno­graphic websites from some of her co-workers. We would like to review the messages to figure out exactly how large a problem we face. Can we do this?

A. Do you have a computer policy that states that em­­­ployees have no expectation of privacy in their Inter­­net usage or emails? It is a good idea to have one in place. Even if you don’t have a policy, you should be able to review emails that have been sent or received on your company’s information systems (although you should not try to access emails that are in the process of being transmitted), which are your company’s property, if you have a legitimate business reason.  

In your case, there is a legitimate reason because some of your employees may be engaging in sexual harassment, and you have a duty to investigate the employee’s complaint. If the employee received the inappropriate content on her personal computer/device, then you would need her permission to review the content, which she is likely to provide if she wants the matter investigated.

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