H.R. 4908 (106th): Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act

106th Congress, 1999–2000. Text as of Jul 20, 2000 (Introduced).

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HR 4908 IH

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4908

To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for the disclosure of electronic monitoring of employee communications and computer usage in the workplace.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 20, 2000

Mr. CANADY of Florida (for himself and Mr. BARR of Georgia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for the disclosure of electronic monitoring of employee communications and computer usage in the workplace.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act’.

SEC. 2. ELECTRONIC MONITORING OF EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS AND COMPUTER USAGE IN THE WORKPLACE.

    (a) ELECTRONIC MONITORING-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Chapter 121 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

        (A) by redesignating section 2711 as section 2712; and

        (B) by inserting after section 2710 the following new section 2711:

‘Sec. 2711. Electronic monitoring in the workplace

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL- (1) Except as provided in subsection (c), an employer who intentionally, by any electronic means, reads, listens to, or otherwise monitors any wire communication, oral communication, or electronic communication of an employee of the employer, or otherwise monitors the computer usage of an employee of the employer, without first having provided the employee notice meeting the requirements of subsection (b) shall be liable to the employee for relief as provided in subsection (d).

    ‘(2) Not later than one year after first providing notice of electronic monitoring under paragraph (1), and annually thereafter, an employer shall provide notice meeting the requirements of subsection (b) to all employees of the employer who are subject to such electronic monitoring.

    ‘(3) Before implementing a material change in an electronic monitoring practice described in paragraph (1), an employer shall provide notice meeting the requirements of subsection (b) to all employees of the employer who are subject to electronic monitoring covered by that paragraph as a result of the change.

    ‘(b) NOTICE- A notice meeting the requirements of this subsection is a clear and conspicuous notice, in a manner reasonably calculated to provide actual notice, describing--

      ‘(1) the form of communication or computer usage that will be monitored;

      ‘(2) the means by which such monitoring will be accomplished and the kinds of information that will be obtained through such monitoring, including whether communications or computer usage not related to the employer’s business are likely to be monitored;

      ‘(3) the frequency of such monitoring; and

      ‘(4) how information obtained by such monitoring will be stored, used, or disclosed.

    ‘(c) EXCEPTION- An employer may conduct electronic monitoring described in subsection (a) without the notice required by subsection (b) if the employer has reasonable grounds to believe that--

      ‘(1) a particular employee of the employer is engaged in conduct that--

        ‘(A) violates the legal rights of the employer or another person; and

        ‘(B) involves significant harm to the employer or such other person; and

      ‘(2) the electronic monitoring will produce evidence of such conduct.

    ‘(d) CIVIL ACTION- (1) Any person aggrieved by any act in violation of this section may bring an action in a United States district court.

    ‘(2) Subject to paragraph (3), the court in an action under this subsection may award--

      ‘(A) actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages in the amount of $5,000;

      ‘(B) punitive damages;

      ‘(C) reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred; and

      ‘(D) such other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

    ‘(3)(A) The amount of monetary damages awarded an employee under paragraph (2) may not exceed $20,000.

    ‘(B) The aggregate amount of monetary damages awarded against an employer under paragraph (2) for a given violation of this section may not exceed $500,000.

    ‘(4) No action may be brought under this subsection unless such action is begun within 2 years from the date of the act complained of or the date of discovery of the act complained of, whichever is later.’.

      (2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of that chapter is amended by striking the item relating to section 2711 and inserting the following new items:

      ‘Sec. 2711. Electronic monitoring in the workplace.

      ‘Sec. 2712. Definitions for chapter.’.

    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.