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Can bosses monitor your online activity at work?
Can your boss monitor what you're doing online? Read this before you visit another site or send another e-mail.
The Internet plays an essential part in the veterinary profession. However, working online exposes vital confidential information and business tools to the risk of theft—and it exposes you to potential embarrassment. To prevent this, federal law says that, with few exceptions, employees have no right to privacy when viewing Web sites and e-mails at work. So if you're using a practice computer to surf the net or check your Hotmail account, your boss is allowed to monitor your activity—even when you're off the clock.
In fact, a savvy practice owner or manager would implement an Internet usage policy explaining that employees are not to go online for personal reasons. (For a sample, look below for Sample: Computer usage policy) Don't be offended by such a hard-line stand. These policies are designed to protect unsuspecting people like you from falling victim to computer viruses and hackers that might compromise financial information or patient records. They also keep you from being subjected to inappropriate jokes and photos being e-mailed around the practice.
Of course, most Internet and e-mail use taking place in practices is totally appropriate. If you're unsure whether it's OK to access certain sites or send certain messages, put them to the team-meeting test: If you wouldn't discuss them at a team meeting, avoid them.