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Internet rights

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Reading articles that concern employers firing over employees using the internet at work, first of all, can they legally "spy" into your work files and see what you are doing on the internet? Can they fire you (not including pornography, which is obvious)based on what you are doing on the internet, for example, shopping, making money by surfing, receiving junk e-mails, etc.




I am not sure what you are asking. I wonder if you are asking if a work-at-home employee's work on the Internet can be legally monitored by his/her employer? If it can, can the employee be legally terminated if he/she is shopping, receiving junk email, etc. If these are your questions, the courts are holding that an employee (whether at work or a telecommuter) has a limited right to privacy expectation in their email. So whether the employer can also snoop into the files on the employees system, I am not sure that is legal. Next question about termination, it depends on a couple of things. Assuming that the employee is doing non-employer tasks (shopping on the net, buying/selling stock, engaging in a chat room, etc.) on employer time, the employer can certainly take corrective actions up to and including termination. The limiting factors are whether the state is an at-will state or not. At-will means that the employer can terminate the employee at any time, with or without a reason. Next, another limiting factor is whether the employee is protected by a union or has a written contract of employment. So, for more information please consult this web site's BBS on employment(labor) law.

Mark B. Replogle

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