How to tell if your boss is legally spying on you

Do you worry your employer may be legally spying on you at work? Read on for four red flags to watch out for.

Many employees know what it’s like to be micro-managed or have their supervisor breathing down their neck. These days, however, companies can use technology to do it – and many of these methods are completely legal, meaning you have no recourse to prevent them from doing it other than leaving your job entirely.  

Joe D. from FATJOE shared four ways you can spot legal surveillance in your workplace. 

1) It’s in your employee handbook or contract

Check your employee handbook or contract for sections related to monitoring, privacy, and IT policies. They’ll often detail the scope and methods of surveillance your employer can use. Look for specific language or clauses that indicate the company’s right to monitor employee activities and communications. 

If the policies are unclear, consult your HR department or manager. Companies are generally required to notify employees of monitoring practices, so they should be outlined in your employment documents. Unclear policies can be a cause for concern, so it’s always best to be certain of what practises your employers are using as soon as possible.

2) There are cameras or webcams

Surveillance cameras monitor physical movements, interactions, and overall activity within workplaces. They can enhance productivity, protect company assets, prevent inappropriate behaviour, and maintain a secure working environment. But of course, if you’re slacking off on the job, a camera means your boss will know about it!

Laptop webcams can verify employee presence during work hours (especially in remote work settings). A policy stating employees have to have their cameras on can also ensure engagement during virtual meetings. 

3) You receive specific comments and feedback 

Your boss may reference your non-work related activities or behaviour that you haven’t openly shared. They may discuss your usage of certain websites and applications or the timing of your breaks, or your manager may know about email content that wasn’t sent to them.

If they have information they couldn’t have gotten any other way than through surveillance programs, it’s likely your boss has been spying on you. Remember that they should not be using surveillance without your knowledge, so you can ask to be notified of what methods they are using.

4) You discover monitoring software

The most obvious way to tell if your boss is spying on you is if you find monitoring software on your work computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

For example, keyloggers capture all typed information (e.g. passwords, messages, and other inputs), and email content scanners search for specific keywords and sensitive information. Web monitoring software can track everything from internet usage patterns to access to specific websites and network resources. 

All of these programs can assess productivity, ensure policy compliance, and protect against potential security threats, but you may end up feeling like your boss is constantly looking over your shoulder.

Whilst these activities may be legal, they can pose privacy concerns for employees. So many sure you keep your work and personal activities separate, using different devices for each. 

Author: FATJOE was founded in 2012 and has become one of the world’s largest providers of outsourced link-building, digital PR, SEO services, content creation and design, and video services. They’re changing the game with their productized link-building and SEO services –  helping SEOs, marketers, and agencies to scale and thrive.

Photo by Jason Goodman