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Com 285 Introduction to Business Communications - Employee Privacy Report

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Employee Privacy Report

Com/285 Introduction to Business Communications

January 20, 2010

Richard Turney

Employee Privacy Report

Many employees believe they have complete privacy while using company computers and company issued equipment such as cell phones and laptops. Those many employees could be wrong. Most companies have policies in place stating they have the right to monitor all communications on company owned equipment. Every word that is said on a company phone could be listened to and every web page downloaded could be viewed by the company. Some companies even have keystroke recording, where they can tell what keys are pressed allowing them to record personal passwords.

At Fresenius Medical Care, there is policy that states any employee is permitted to use company computers before work, after work, and on break times. They have strict policy about the websites an employee can access and have filters in place to block out inappropriate sites. They also do not allow access to any gaming or media streaming sites, such as YouTube (Michael McCann, personal communication, January 15, 2010). Basically, computer use by an employee is limited to checking personal e-mail and for school related purposes. The company has an excellent tuition reimbursement program and many employees are also students. An employee can also access websites for other personal reasons such as checking a bank account or to pay bills.

The policy also states that the company has the right to monitor any computer usage by any employee. They use keystroke recording to document any key that is pressed on all company computers. For managers who have company owned laptops, cell phones, and Blackberries, all their communications are also monitored. Possession of any pornographic or sexually explicit material is grounds for immediate termination (Michael McCann, personal communication, January 15, 2010). There are rules against using company e-mail to distribute chain mail and mass mailings not approved by management. Time spent on the Internet is monitored and excessive use can result in corrective actions (Michael McCann, personal communication, January 15, 2010).

Few states have workplace privacy laws. The laws in the states that have privacy laws basically allow the employer to monitor everything but an employee changing clothes, and some require the employer to give prior notice of electronic surveillance (, 2003-2010). The Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act that went into effect in Illinois on January 1, 2010 gives the employee the right to privacy regarding E-Verify and Workers’ Compensation but does not include electronic surveillance (, 2003-2010). Most monitoring in the workplace


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