This is Part 6 in a 6-part series on Connecticut Employment Laws You Didn’t Know Existed.
Connecticut’s electronic monitoring law requires public and private employers to give prior notice to employees if their activities will be electronically monitored. Electronic monitoring may take some unexpected forms. For example, your computer systems likely log all Internet activity by employees. This would be electronic monitoring, even if you never look at the log. Other examples of electronic monitoring include alarm codes that identify when employees are in the building, surveillance cameras in non-public areas, or telephones that log or record calls. Electronic monitoring does not include the collection of information for security purposes in common areas of the employer’s premises which are held out for use by the public, such as a security camera at a retail store. (A different statute prohibits electronic surveillance in areas designed for the health or personal comfort of the employees or for safeguarding of their possessions, such as rest rooms, locker rooms, or lounges.)
If you engage in any kind of electronic monitoring, you must give prior written notice to all employees who may be affected, informing them of the types of monitoring that may occur. This notice must be posted in a conspicuous place which is readily available for viewing by its employees. You can use the poster created by the state to meet this requirement. Make sure you fill in the types of electronic monitoring used!
There are a few instances in which prior notice is not required. If an employer has reasonable grounds to believe that employees are engaged in conduct that violates the law, violates the legal rights of the employer or other employees, or creates a hostile workplace environment, and electronic monitoring may produce evidence of this misconduct, the employer may conduct monitoring without notice. The statute also states that any information obtained in the course of a criminal investigation through the use of electronic monitoring may be used in a disciplinary proceeding against an employee. Also, prior notice is not required for electronic monitoring that occurs off-premises, such as using GPS tracking devices on company vehicles.
While an employee may not sue for a violation of this statute, the Connecticut Department of Labor can levy penalties from $500 to $3,000, depending on whether it is a first or subsequent offense. It is also possible that courts or administrative agencies would opt not to entertain evidence that was collected in violation of this statute.
Our team of labor and employment attorneys can assist you in keeping up with employee notification requirements and addressing other labor and employment law compliance issues.