Q. Our IT manager wants to install software onto our company computer system that will allow us to monitor Internet and e-mail usage on company equipment. Our employee handbook prohibits the use of company equipment or the Internet to surf inappropriate web sites, but does not specifically warn staff thatmay monitor their use. Do we need to amend our computer-use policy before installing the monitoring software?
A. Generally, private employers in Indiana have no obligation to warn their employees that they are monitoring use of electronic media. However, unless there is a specific reason to keep the monitoring secret (for example, as part of a specific investigation where you do not want the subject to know about the monitoring), you should amend your electronic policy and distribute it to the work force either before or shortly after you begin using monitoring software.
For public/government employers, the rules are somewhat different, and those employers should seek assistance from counsel before instituting any monitoring software.