What You Need to Know About Georgia Employee Monitoring Laws
Georgia requires employers to follow specific laws and regulations regarding employee monitoring. Here’s what you need to know about Georgia’s employee monitoring laws.
Georgia recognizes the four common law claims in regards to invasion of privacy, meaning Georgia restricts employers in what employee information they are allowed to record and view.
Common Law Claims for Invasion of Privacy
Common law prevents employers from intruding upon an employee’s seclusion or solitude. Georgia prevents electronic surveillance in areas where employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms.
Employers may not publicly disclose private information about employees, including health issues, social security numbers, and any other information about which employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Information intended for public knowledge, such as birth dates or military records, does not carry an expectation of privacy.
Unlike claims of libel or defamation, it does not matter whether the information was accurate. Employers may not disclose private information about employees.
Common law also prevents employers from portraying employees, or former employees, in a false light. For example, if asked for a recommendation for another job, the employer may not falsely categorize the employee in a negative way.
Employers also may not use an employee’s name or likeness without permission from the employee if the appropriation is used to gain an advantage of some type (financial or otherwise.)
Electronic Monitoring of Employees in Georgia
Georgia allows employers to video record employees in the workplace. Employers must have a legitimate reason for the recording, such as security.
Employers are not allowed to record employees in areas where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms or break rooms.
Georgia is a one-party consent law state, meaning at least one party of a conversation must consent to have the conversation recorded. To record audio in the workplace, the employer must get the consent of at least one of the parties involved in the conversation.
Employers may monitor device usage if they own the device the employee is using. Employers may monitor Internet usage, saved files, communication including texts and calls, and more.
Drugs Testing Employee Monitoring Laws in Georgia
Georgia allows employers to qualify as a drug-free workplace. Employers who qualify for this program receive a 7.5% reduction in workers’ compensation premiums.
If a workplace is certified as a drug-free workplace, Georgia requires employers to ask employees for drug tests under certain circumstances, including:
- During reasonable suspicion, an employee is using drugs
- After an accident resulting in lost time at work
- During regularly-scheduled medical examinations to determine fitness-for-work
- After an employee returns to work following drug rehabilitation for a positive drug test
Georgia does not require employers to drug test employees if they voluntarily entered rehab without a positive drug test.
Georgia also allows employers to conduct random drug testing of employees.
Before drug testing can occur in a workplace, employers must provide employees with written notification about the testing. Employees must receive at least 60 days’ notice of the policy before drug testing may occur.
After an employee tests positive on a drug test, they have five days to contest or explain the positive result.
If a workplace is certified as a drug-free workplace, employers must drug test applicants with conditional job offers. Employers may instead choose more limited testing. For example, an employer may only test applicants who may work in potentially dangerous jobs.
When employers require drug testing for applicants, Georgia requires them to make this known in the job announcements or listings.
Employees or potential employees who test positive due to legally prescribed drugs for disabilities, including legally prescribed opiates, cannot suffer consequences due to the positive test.