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Employers Access to Employee Social Media

Savannah, GA |

Services Store owner here. Opened a FB tab on company computer, the employee was logged in to their personal account and a message was visable CLEARLY outlining their intentions to breach their Restrictive Covenant Agreement Not to Compete. I was not going to read it, but I saw the sender was a client of my company!!! No kidding...I was in shock that they could be this bold. Maybe asking to be fired & using this as a set up knowing I would see it ?? Since it was the employees personal account, is there any way to use this message to terminate the employee? I read that the laws in this area are fast changing. Direction appreciated.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

If GA is an Employee At Will state you can terminate for any reason. If they are using company computers for personal use they have no real expectation of privacy. Worse, if they are trying to steal your clients they dont deserve any.

If this Answer was of assistance please mark it as "helpful." Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.

Brian C. Pascale

Brian C. Pascale

Posted

Any reason except those that are protected.

Asker

Posted

Ga is a employee at will state

Brian C. Pascale

Brian C. Pascale

Posted

Then you can terminate this employee. While Mr. Cook's suggestion is one solution I think is good, if they have not actually stolen your clients, you may want to cut this off before real damage is done. If they are poaching your clients at he behest of a new prospective employer , then Mr. Cook's suggestion is best. If the employee has remote access to your server or access to company email, contacts, or calendars from their phone start limiting it. If they know passwords to websites and databases you use begin changing them.

Posted

You have strong rights here. I'd suggest that you FIRST covertly find out what else is going on with those on line chats BEFORE you approach the employee. You will learn who is at the other end of those conversations. If you take legal action, you will know who you need to depose. The more you know, the more power you have in litigation. As an employer, you have the legal right to install monitoring software which captures info in the background. Install something like webwatcher.com to capture info for a few days.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much!

Andrew Mark Jaffe

Andrew Mark Jaffe

Posted

I suggest you contact a lawyer as you begin your investigation. They will be able to not only tell you what evidence you need to collect, they can also help youto avoid creating liability for yourself through your actions - when you go to file the employee you don't want to have created a counter claim through your investigative actions.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Good point. Your computer tech for security software to monitor this activity needs to be someone with forensic skills and qualifications as you may need testimony later. A litigation lawyer nowadadys generally knows software forensic vendors that can do this for you.

Posted

You need to see a computer security tech confidentiality and have monitoring software installed done it is YOUR computer and YOUR intellectual property this crook is likely to be stealing. You also need to watch your cash drawer, your tools, and your customer lists and account books. As soon as you nab a violation, you likely need to can this guy and do any necessary damage control. And, let this be a lesson to verify even when you trust.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.