If you're working in America then the answer is probably yes, but before you go running to the lawyers everything they are doing is probably all supported by law.
An American Management Association survey of 526 managers found that most managers watched subordinates in some form or another. An amazing 76% monitoring website visits while 50% looked at computer files, and a larger percentage of managers used spy cameras or surveillance equipment to keep track of what staff were up to while they were at work.
However, this type of behavior is, to a large degree, allowed by law in the US with most workplace privacy laws only asking employers to tell staff if they are being watched and to refrain from watching them when they are changing their clothes.
You're in luck if you're working in Britain you have a few more rights when it comes to your privacy as employers need to get your consent before they can intercept your emails or carry out internet surveillance.
But why are employers so afraid of staff's actions while they are at work?
Most of the time your employers are just worried about you wasting time at work. However, there are some more serious reasons for them to watch what you do.
They could be worried about bullying or sexual harassment or poor treatment of a customer which could lead to loss of business or even a sexual harassment suit.
So how do employers spy on their employees?
There are three main types of surveillance that a manager will use to keep an eye on staff.
They could carry out surveillance using surveillance equipment, like spy surveillance cameras, GPS tracking or desktop and internet monitoring.
Surveillance Camera and Equipment
More bosses prefer to keep track of their worker's activities on the computer and internet but there are still many who will listen to phone conversations and watch staff on wireless spy cameras or hidden spy cameras.
There is any number of spy gadgets they can turn to for this purpose and some they may use are outdoor surveillance cameras, hidden spy cameras, wireless spy cameras and wired CCTV units.
If they are using a surveillance camera or a hidden spy camera with sound recording capabilities and they haven't told you about it they won't be able to use the recording in legal proceedings as judges will see it as a breach of privacy.
If you spend most of your time in a car then your employer may want to keep tabs on you with a GPS tracker or GPS logger.
A GPS tracker is a little electronic spy gadget that can be either attached to a car or be held by a person and which keeps a record of your exact location. Your employer can either buy this spy gadget or make the spy gadget depending on their technical aptitude.
Internet and Desktop Surveillance
Employers operating a mainly office-based staff are quickly taking up this method of worker surveillance, maybe because it is so easy to do and so hard to detect.
Your boss will have no problems tracking which websites you visit and what you put into emails if you are using a work internet server or work computer. It will be almost impossible for you to spot that you are being monitored too as most surveillance will happen at the network level.
Employers may choose to use keytrackers or spyware to watch what you're up to on the computer and, while they are illegal to use, they are very hard to detect. Luckily they are easy to remove and simply running a anti-spyware program on your computer will stop your bosses prying eyes from seeing everything that you are doing on your computer.
What Can You Do About It?
The best thing that you can do is to realize that your manager will probably feel that only guilty people will have something to hide and just to be mindful of your actions at work.
However if you seriously object to having your privacy invaded at work there are some steps to stop yourself being watched.
If you're dealing with a wireless spy camera, regardless of whether it is the normal type or a wireless spy camera with a hidden earphone there are a number of wireless signal blockers available on the market today which can block the signal from any camera in a 20 meter range.
If you're on the road a lot and you object to being tracked with a GPS logging device then there are a number cool spy gadgets for you too with several personal and automotive GPS blocking devices being on the market today.
Computer surveillance isn't so easy to deal with, however. Even if you know that your employer is monitoring your actions on the computer then there's little you can do about it outside of leaving all non-work browsing, emails and conversations for outside work hours.
There are several good anti spyware packages and it may be worth installing them on your computer from time to time to prevent your boss from checking on the websites you go to.
There is a good chance that your employer is watching you but there is little you can do about it without arousing their suspicion further. The best thing you could do is act in a professional and businesslike way when you are at work.
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