Reading time: 3 minutes

Increasing technological capabilities have undoubtedly assisted businesses. They have also, however, allowed employers to monitor and track an employee’s e-mail and internet usage carefully. All employers may not be required to abide by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), however, best practice suggests that employers should disclose to employees what sort of information he or she is collecting and when a business will be prompted to access this information. A business can use the monitoring of an employee’s internet and e-mail usage for various purposes, but employers need to ensure that they respect an employee’s privacy.

Workplace Policy

For a business to avoid any disputes relating to the access of an employee’s Internet and e-mail usage, the business should have a clear workplace policy that addresses the following issues:

  • appropriate usage of the Internet or e-mail in the workplace environment;
  • prohibited usage of the Internet or e-mail in the workplace environment;
  • details of the employees who may be able to collect employee data relating to internet and e-mail usage;
  • details of the monitoring and auditing process; and
  • penalties relating to the misuse or breach of the workplace policies.

Employee Handbook

If an employer develops a workplace policy that allows for access to an employee’s Internet and e-mail usage, the employee should be aware of what information he or she is collecting and under what circumstances the business can access it. 

An Employee Handbook usually outlines how an employee should behave online as it often includes clauses relating to internet and e-mail usage. When it comes to online privacy, the Employee Handbook should include details such as:

  • the activities that are considered legitimate when using the Internet or e-mail in the workplace,
  • the consequences relating to improper use of the Internet and e-mail in the workplace and,
  • the employee’s ability to be involved in the process of developing the workplace policy.

Employees are often not aware of the level of access an employer has to their e-mail or internet usage. The key is to ensure transparency of the workplace policies, particularly when it comes to monitoring and access.

Conclusion

Although workplace policies and an employee handbook can help to minimise disputes relating to privacy, this is an evolving area of law. As an employer, you will need to balance your business’ interests with your employee’s right to privacy. If you are unsure of your obligations when accessing details of your employees’ online usage, contact one of LegalVision’s experienced employment lawyers – we would be delighted to assist you and answer any of your questions.

Webinars

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards