Should A Company Monitor Employees?EUR(TM) E-Mails?

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2005
Should A Company Monitor Employees’ E-Mails?
"It's just a  precautionary measure. We don't want to act as the police, but we would like to discourage employees from doing anything wrong"
Vikas Gadhare, Chief Information Officer, Rallis India

"We monitor e-mails to prevent misuse of confidential data"

Launched in 1948, Rallis India, an agro-chemical company, is now part of the Tata group. Among Rallis India's portfolio of products are pesticides, seeds and fertilisers. It has also invested in research focusing on toxicology studies and  development of new formulations and manufacturing methods.

"Rallis monitors employee e-mail, but in a very small way. Only the e-mails of our Research and Development team, consisting of 25 people, are monitored. It's necessary for us to monitor the R&D team's e-mails, as the kind of information they deal with is confidential. 

"What normally happens is, a copy of the domain address to which an e-mail has been forwarded is made and sent to the department head's mailbox. The exact e-mail may not be sent-only the subject matter and the domain address are sent.

"Besides, it's not possible to monitor each and every e-mail that is sent by an employee. Only suspicious e-mails get monitored. The department head looks at all the e-mails and if he thinks there is a fishy e-mail, then that particular mail is checked further.

"Mostly, the e-mails of employees who have resigned are scrutinised. This is done because there's a possibility that the employees who quit might tamper with confidential information. It is important to ensure zero damage on our R&D efforts.

"It's only been a year since we have started monitoring employee e-mails. Till date, we haven't come across any discriminating correspondence. It's just a precautionary measure. We don't want to act as the police, but we would certainly like to discourage employees from stealing company secrets.

"Employees are not yet aware that their e-mails are being monitored. Maybe at a later date, we shall inform them of this practice. I am sure, employees will not object once they understand the purpose of the system."

"At present, we don't find the need to monitor employee e-mails"
Konkan Railway Corporation Limited, a Government of India Undertaking, was formed in 1990. It provides commuting solutions for business and leisure travellers. Konkan Railway's 760 km railway route (built in five years), covers the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.

"Monitoring employee e-mails is not a part of our organisational policy. In fact, all these years, all official correspondence used to take place the old way-through the postal department. The electronic mailing system was introduced to Konkan Railway only a year ago. Although we frequently use e-mail now, the paper work has not been completely eliminated.

"As and when a need to monitor employees arises, we shall do so. Presently, we don't have the resources to monitor their e-mails"
Bindu Murlidharan , Senior Manager, IT , Konkan Railway

"At present we do not find the need to monitor e-mail correspondence of our employees. As and when a need to monitor employees arises, we shall do so. Presently, we also do not have the resources required to monitor employee e-mails.

"Although there is no proposal for such an action as of now, I will not rule out its occurence in the near future. As a matter of fact, there is a possibility that we may start monitoring employee e-mails within a year. Once such a decision is taken, resources have to be acquired and only then can the system be in place.

"Moreover, it is not up to me alone to decide whether employee e-mails can be monitored or not. It is the entire management who decides the course of action under the given circumstances. We will put forward a proposal and once a decision is declared as final, it shall be implemented.

"When we decide to have such a policy in place we will surely inform the employees. For their part, employees have to follow what is stated in the policy. As you are aware, the rules in a government organisation are different from other offices, so whenever a policy is passed, the employees comply."

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