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Employee Privacy

Autor:   •  September 12, 2011  •  Essay  •  930 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,201 Views

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Employee Privacy

Employee rights in the workplace are virtually non-existent. According to, up to 92% of private-sector employers conduct some time of electronic surveillance on their employees. This shows that companies are becoming more and more interested in monitoring their employees' productivity and making sure that they are performing up to par. The number of unemployed people is increasing which means that there are plenty of people that are more than willing to take your place. It is important that employees understand that they must prove that they are valuable to the company and that anything that goes on in the office is not private.

Employees make assumptions about what is and what isn't their company's "business". They feel that conversations they have on the phone, via email, or via instant messenger should be private. Their employers feel that anything activities performed on company time or using company property is public information. Employees must understand the negative outcomes that are possible when using the company computer to surf the web or chat with their friends. Employees feel that they should not be watched at all times and should be treated as a trusted employee. Employee morale is often down in companies that utilize intense monitoring practices.

"Anytime you allow your employees to access the email, intranet, or the internet system you are putting your organization at risk of a broad range of potential and costly liabilities" (Hamilton, 2003). Companies must implement policies on personal email and internet because accessing the wrong websites can expose the computer to viruses and many working hours can be wasted by employees surfing the web for information not related to their job. Accessing the wrong websites can potentially give others unwanted access to your company's data. They can then find out confidential information and possibly give it to your competitors to jeopardize your business. Other reasons that the policies should be implemented are because employees have used email to sexually harass other employees and because internet pornography sites caused three international companies to lose almost 350- 8 hour days in 1996, according to Hamilton (2003).

There are many conflicts when it comes to employee privacy at work and what is and what isn't appropriate. It is perfectly legal for employers to monitor computer usage. The employer owns the network and the terminals which makes anything done on the computers company property. AN employer can monitor number of keystrokes, amount of idle time or time away from the computer, and there is also software that enables them to "see what is on the screen or stored on the employee' computer terminals and hard disks" (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, 1993-2010). Emails sent from or to a company computer are not private. Even once


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