A Romanian employee was dismissed after his employer had monitored his private conversations, which he held during the boss’s time. The case was disputed between parties and eventually brought in front of the European Court of Human Rights. They ruled that the company was in her rights to do so. But how far can an employer actually go in spying on employees?
Companies can monitor you
Roughly speaking, an employer may monitor its people if it is in the company’s interest and the measures taken are proportional. Employees must also be informed beforehand of the measures taken when they cross the lines. In general, an employer has quite a lot of legal leeway to keep an eye on employees. How far they may go in this depends to a large extent on what is included in the company regulations. But you need to be aware of what the company is monitoring. Here are some examples of how big brother is watching you.
And if you do not like being watched, I have a life-changing suggestion to make to you at the end of this post. How? By preparing your escape route!
How are you, as an employee, spied on?
Here are a number of methods your employer could use and that you should be aware of.
Can your boss keep an eye on you all day through CCTV? Yes, but under strict conditions. To be allowed to hang cameras on the work floor, the employer must have a legitimate interest (for example, security or theft prevention) and it must be the last resort. Companies must first investigate whether the goals cannot be achieved in a less radical way. Visitors and employees must also be informed of the supervision. Your employer is not allowed to assess you based on the camera images!
E-mail and social media
Your boss can also look into your email and check on social media. If your employer suspects abuse (violation of the set rules) then he or she may also read your email or investigate your internet behavior. Even if no rules have been agreed about e-mail use, your employer can browse around in your e-mails. Then the rule applies that he may only read business messages. If the subject shows that the private message is concerned, it may not be opened.
The company you work for may also keep an eye on you on social media to see what you are saying about the organization. But your employer cannot force you to become friends with him on Facebook, for example, so that he can also read protected messages.
If you have a business telephone, you are entitled to an occasional private conversation. If this is not the case, your employer may not hold you accountable. Your employer may keep an eye on the costs. If they are excessively high, your boss may ask for clarification.
If you have agreed that you are not allowed to have private conversations at all with the telephone of the case, a company can request the specified telephone bill to check with whom you have called if there is a suspicion of abuse.
When fraud is suspected
Normally your conversations cannot be recorded. That is only allowed for quality control or on the suspicion of fraud. You must be clearly informed about this. In principle, recording conversations secretly is not allowed unless there is a well-founded suspicion that you have committed a criminal offense.
If your employer has stored information about you, you always have the right to view that file. If something is wrong, you can submit a request to have the data removed or changed.
What if you are secretly spied on?
There are employers who monitor the online practices of employees without informing them. They secretly read along with your e-mail, check your chat traffic and see what you are up to on the internet. Do you want more privacy? Make it difficult for your boss and take measures to prevent espionage.
Some countries give their employers a considerable amount of room to monitor the online activities of their staff. If you suspect reduced labor productivity, your boss is already allowed to keep an eye on things within reasonable limits. So there is a chance that your boss will keep a close eye on you to check whether you are still doing the job properly.
Here is how this goes:
They log network traffic
Do you wonder: how does my boss see what I do online? The answer to this is simple, namely by logging all network traffic. The system administrator or IT department of an organization often has specific software for this. This makes it possible to find out which websites you have visited. A monitor program records all data that you receive and send in an information file. This information is linked to your company account or the IP address of your PC and is therefore traceable to you. Checking e-mail is even easier, as employers simply log in to your account. Furthermore, it is also possible for your boss to scan e-mail traffic and secretly read intercepted e-mails.
How to surf without the eyes
There are a couple of options for anonymous surfing on the internet without your boss sneaking along. You possibly encrypt internet traffic via a VPN server. In that case you install a program on the PC or laptop that realizes a virtual tunnel to an online server. For this it is a condition that you have sufficient rights to install your own software on the machine. Is that not the case with you? Then bring your own laptop and install a VPN server on it to perform private tasks. If you want to work more unobtrusively, you can use a tablet or smartphone for this.
VPN at your home
It is also possible to set up a VPN server at home, so that you do not have to sign up with a commercial provider. When you request a website in a browser, the VPN server retrieves the required data. The server then forwards the data to your machine via an encrypted connection, without it being possible for employers to detect the content of internet traffic.
Use of a dongle
The disadvantage of a VPN server is that your employer can see that you use special software for this. This may raise annoying questions. Alternatively, you could use a mobile internet dongle for private matters during work.
A mobile internet dongle offers an opportunity to bypass the business network. A dongle is a handy device used to connect a laptop or other mobile device to the internet. Internet dongles can deliver high speed internet access on the move for your laptop and are available on a pay as you go or a monthly contract basis.
You temporarily remove the network cable from your work PC and visit websites via a 3G or 4G wireless connection. Put the sim card of your smartphone in the dongle and visit websites without being bothered by a curious boss.
My life-changing suggestion
It is quite understandable though that you do not like any of the hassles as mentioned above. Go to another company and you may encounter the same. But you need a monthly income, so how to do that? It is my suggestion to you here, that you will make use of the many internet options to start making money on the side!
Preparing your escape route
So, what I am saying is you keep your job for the time being, but in your free time you will be preparing to become your own boss. And doing so from your own home! Can you do this? Yes, anyone can do this and here is what’s it all about. You will become an affiliate marketer, operating your own website(s), promoting products based on your own passions and making commissions in the process.
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