Can my employer monitor my personal laptop?

My employer recently stated that he was tracking everything we did on our personal laptops over the company network. Is it legal for him to monitor what sites we visit and all our online traffic from our own personal laptops? (Yes, we are allowed to use personal laptops at work.)

Posted  12-14-2011

Ann Kiernan replies:

Yes, since federal law allows employer to monitor whatever goes over the corporate network. Note that in one state, New Jersey, the state Supreme Court has held that the attorney-client privilege applied to e-mails sent by an employee to her personal lawyer, even though the employer had a policy stating that the employee should have no expectation of privacy in e-mail sent using company equipment. In other states, notably California, the courts have ruled that company policy prevails over a claim of attorney-client privilege.


Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.