Privacy In The Workplace

873 Words 4 Pages
As defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, privacy is the quality or condition of being secluded from the presence or view of others. Privacy is a right we as Americans have protected under the first and fourth amendment. Unfortunately with the growth of technology and its expansion into the common workplace privacy has become a big concern within the work arena. Employees feel that because they work in America, they have the right to go to work knowing that their employer will not invade their privacy. What many are unware of is that the rights to privacy in the workplace only provide limited protection for workers against monitoring and breach of confidentiality. "Everyone has a right to privacy …show more content…
Unsurprisingly employers are primarily concerned with improving their efficiency and profitability, meaning employers are not trying to pay their employees to sit around and dabble online. Electronic surveillance is used to police improper use of company and personal electronics, not just to combat laziness but to protect their employees and customers against things like discrimination and/or harassment, as well as to protect against employees visiting inappropriate sites, such as those with adult content or those that distribute viruses and other malware. Not only that, but these companies are legally responsible for the health and safety of their workers and consumers; and the only way to prevent fooling around and ensure safety is to monitor. “Surveillance is used to control the employees’ behavior and performance, to protect work premises, stock and means of production and to deter and control abuse of the employment relationship” (Miller and Weckert, 2000). Furthermore, surveillance cameras most of the time are not used to monitor employees, but to protect against property damage, misuse, and theft. Some even consider video surveillance a more “objective” form of productivity monitoring compared to the traditional supervision by manager, whose personal bias of a worker can influence an evaluation. For example, in the restaurant business there …show more content…
Employees claim workplace monitoring, creates this overwhelming feeling of pressure and sense of distrust causing morale to plummet. The main issue people have with workplace surveillance is the invasion of privacy rights. People generally don’t want every cough, bathroom break, or personal activity monitored and logged. Monitoring can seem invasive and there is always a margin for abuse; and because such a margin exists, questions like how information collected is then used? and who has access? become the center of the debate. Many fear that with the growth of technology it has become too easy for employers to access private information and have the option to use such information against them. For example, "to identify or harass whistleblowers, union organizers, or other dissidents within a firm or agency" (U.S. Congress, 1987, p. 2) When people try to fight against employer invasion the question then becomes, what is the fairness standard? With technology being so new, our judicial system doesn’t necessarily have a precedent, so the concern then becomes who determines whether employer standards are reasonable, and whether the information is work related and

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