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Published Articles by David Balovich

Title: Monitoring Telephone Calls
Published in: Creditworthy News
Date: 10/9/02

Recently we received an inquiry from a reader asking about their employers plan to monitor their outgoing phone calls and was this legal.

Federal laws govern telephone calls and the employer is subject to those laws that allow employers to monitor its employees by using a monitoring device installed by a local phone company (U.S. S.C. Section 2510 (5)(a) and 2511). Employers are required to do the monitoring during the normal course of business and the monitoring must usually be limited in time and scope and must not intrude upon the privacy of an employee.

Many employers who utilize monitoring devices do so for the purpose of quality control and customer satisfaction. They notify their employees that their conversations will be monitored and that they will cease monitoring when the employee is not engaged in a business telephone conversation. Often employers will enter into written agreements with their employees whereby the employee is advised of the monitoring program and the times and circumstances that monitoring will be implemented.

Because many states have laws that also have additional restrictions it is important that employers be cognizant of both the federal and their state’s requirements for adopting a monitoring system. Eleven states; California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington have laws requiring disclosure to employees when their phone calls are being monitored. Many employers utilize a beep tone to identify the fact that the employees phone calls are being monitored prior to and during the act of monitoring. This requirement is not present in the federal law and not all of the state statutes. In Montana and Massachusetts the customer must also be informed that the call is being monitored and the customer must consent to having a third party monitor the conversation. If the customer does not consent then the monitoring of the phone conversation is prohibited.

Monitoring of employees phone calls is legal under United States law as long as it only applies to business calls and not personal calls. State law may require that employees and/or customers be notified prior to and during the monitoring of the call and may require the consent of all parties.

I wish you well.

This information is provided as information only and not legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from a competent, licensed attorney, in good standing with the state bar association.

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