Can I monitor my employee’s electronic activity?

Employers are not prohibited from monitoring their employees’ electronic work activity.  However, due to privacy concerns, employees may be opposed to electronic monitoring and employers may need to be cautious about how they approach electronic monitoring to avoid creating unnecessary friction between the company and employees.  Employee concerns about privacy may be particularly strong if the employees work from home and use personal devices. 

Recently, new provisions of the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”) have come into force, which require employers with 25 or more employees to establish (and distribute) a written policy that addresses the following:

  1. Whether the employer electronically monitors employees and if so,
    1. A description of how and in what circumstances the employer may electronically monitor employees, and
    2. The purposes for which information obtained through electronic monitoring may be used by the employer.
  2. The date the policy was prepared and the date any changes were made to the policy.
  3. Such other information as may be prescribed.

These ESA requirements are relatively new and address a topic that has become increasingly relevant in recent years. More regulations or requirements around employers’ obligations with respect to monitoring employees may arise in the future. It is advisable to seek legal advice when implementing such policies in the workplace.