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Your Employees Probably are Shopping While they Work. Here's How to Handle it

12.17.15

Shawn Romer’s article “Your Employees Probably are Shopping While they Work. Here's How to Handle it” was featured in Crain’s Cleveland Business on December 17, 2015.

This holiday season, more employees than ever before are likely to use work computers and work time to shop online for gifts.

A recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 50% of workers intend to do online shopping at work this holiday season, which is up by 3 percentage points from last year. While the simplest solution to this issue may be to completely ban all non-work related computer usage, for a number of reasons, this is probably not realistic or advisable.

Monitoring for work-related computer usage is often difficult and likely leading to non-uniform enforcement that could give disgruntled employees ammunition if making some type of disparate impact claim. Further, truly work-related content could be proactively banned, inhibiting your employees’ ability to do what they need to do.

Maintaining a proper workplace policy defining the scope of what the employee can do (and what the employer may limit) will help avoid entangling issues down the road.

In the article, Shawn provides employers with a few items to think about in order to avoid issues this holiday season:

  1. Make it clear that the employer is not responsible for ensuring the privacy of personal information inputted into a company-owned computer.
  2. Be careful of restricting employees’ right to collectively organize.
  3. Make it clear that under no circumstances may work computers be used for illegal purposes.
  4. Similarly, make it clear that items purchased must be work appropriate.

To read the full article, please visit Crain’s Cleveland Business.


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