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Monitoring Your Employees' E-Mail

How closely can you monitor employee e-mail?

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This story appears in the January 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It might seem Big Brother-like for you to monitor employee e-mail, but there may be good reasons for doing so. You might suspect an employee is disclosing trade secrets, violating company policy, downloading pornography or harassing another employee via e-mail. Or you may want to make sure that communication with clients is always professional.

The Electronic Communication Privacy Act, also known as the Stored Communications Act, prohibits interception of electronic communications under most circumstances. However, it allows companies to monitor employees' e-mail stored on company-owned servers and in cases when employees consent to employer access to e-mail.

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