More Employers Monitoring Workers Internet Use

    March 3, 2008

More than one-fourth of U.S. employers have terminated employees for misusing email and one third have fired an employee for abusing the Internet according to the 2007 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey from American Management Association (AMA) and The ePolicy Institute.

Twenty-eight percent of employers who have fired a worker for email misuse did so for violation of company policy (64%); inappropriate or offensive language (62%); excessive personal use (26%); breach of confidentiality rules (22%); other (12%).

The 30 percent of managers who have fired workers for Internet misuse did so for downloading inappropriate/ offensive content (84%); violation of company policy (48%); excessive personal use (34%); and other (9%).

Employers main concern is about inappropriate Web surfing, with 66 percent monitoring Internet connections and 65 percent of companies use software to block connections to inappropriate Web sites.

Managers who block access to the Web are concerned about employees visiting adult sites with pornographic content (96%); game sites (61%); social networking sites (50%); entertainment sites (40%); shopping/auction sites (27%); and sports sites (21%).

Forty-five percent of employers track content, keystrokes and time spent at the keyboard. Another 43 percent store and review computer files, 12 percent monitor the blogosphere to see what is being written about the company, and another 10 percent monitor social networking sites.

"Concern over litigation and the role electronic evidence plays in lawsuits and regulatory investigations has spurred more employers to monitor online activity."

"Data security and employee productivity concerns also motivate employers to monitor Web and e-mail use and content," said Nancy Flynn, executive director of The ePolicy Institute.