Debate rages over whether employers can monitor employees outside of work

Some lawmakers nationwide are working to stop employers from using technology to monitor employees without permission.

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The practice is called office spying, and right now, employers are well within their right to do it, especially if you’re using company equipment. In some of these instances, artificial intelligence is reportedly being used to monitor workers.

The debate over this practice centers on the times of day that a company would be monitoring an employee. Critics of the practice are raising questions about whether companies should have the right to monitor an employee's computer when they are off the clock.

Bills preventing employee-monitoring are apparently popping up in New York, Connecticut, and Delaware. In California, non-profit group CalMatters says a workplace tech accountability bill could force employers to notify employers they are being monitored. It could also prohibit surveillance during off hours and outside of work, and eliminate tracking methods that use facial recognition or artificial intelligence.

Business law gurus say these bills could set a nationwide precedent.

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Experts say people who are concerned with being monitored on their work computers can take several steps to try and stop it. 

They first recommend employees put in a written request to stop the monitoring with their bosses. They say, if that’s not an option, employees can request in writing to not be monitored outside of work or during off-hours. Finally, if neither of those are an option, employees can file a complaint or contact an attorney.