Employee Privacy Rights In The Workplace


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Employee Privacy Rights in the Workplace

Imagine you are writing a very personal email to a family relative and you don't want your work buddies to know about it. Well if your employer is reading your email for no particular reason, and one of the computer people just happen to say something that they may have read about someone's personal information, it is then disclosed. Employee privacy rights in the workplace are a very serious issue in today's society. Employee privacy rights in the workplace should be broken down into categories of who should know what about whom. I agree with having privacy act, but at the same time agree that if the viewers there selves aren't pertaining to the rules, and then they should be held responsible for violation of privacy.

Most companies today make employees sign what is called a Privacy Act. One main thing that pertains to this privacy act that is not said word for word is that the employer can look at anything they want and when they want that pertains to you on their company networks. There are a lot of reasons why this is allowed. New Technology today is outstanding on all the things inside a business that they can look at. Computer programs make is possible for the employer to look at exactly you are looking at or writing while you are looking at it or writing what ever you may be writing. Employers are also capable of obtaining phone records and verifying who you may have called, for how long, and sometimes even listen to the conversation. "Employers have not only a moral but a legal obligation to recognize certain employee rights." (Arthur, 1989). With all of this in mind, employers do have certain laws that they must pertain to in order to invade your privacy. Such laws, as the USA Patriot Act, which states individuals are guaranteed access to many government files pertaining to themselves, and the agencies of government that maintain such files are prohibited from disclosing personal information except under court order and certain other limited circumstances.

One thing plays a big effect when dealing with employee privacy rights in the workplace and that is identity theft. Again with the new technology, identity theft can happen very quickly with electronic communication. You can look at personal records at work, while submitting the information to someone else.

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For example, an employer may electronically review an employee's email messages as part of an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint. Electronic surveillance by an employer also includes electronic monitoring in compliance with a government order to search and seize electronic evidence, such as employer monitoring to comply with a search warrant seeking an employee's voice mail or e-mail communications on the employer's computer systems. (King, 2003) That is a good reason as to why cell phones, unless company phones and use only, should not be permitted on company premises. Cell phones come with cameras now, which is not a very good thing. For example, a disgruntled employee has a camera cell phone and goes to a company computer and pulls up a lot of people's personal information. Where is the privacy in that situation? Medical records pertain to the same when it comes to employee privacy rights. When you go into a doctor's office and sign the privacy statement, it is for a very good reason. It is good that they obtain so much information from any individual trying to obtain information from another individual. It is good that employers oversee what you may be doing on their network to a certain point, due to computer hackers now days. IT personnel complete their job to ensure computer hackers from out side of the place of employment are not trying to obtain personal information from their employee's. You just have to remember to make sure that while you are on the computer at your place of employment, that there are not any computer overseer's near you trying to be nosy, or snooping around.

The government uses the right to invade in mine and your privacy to ensure of terrorist activities. To ensure that we don't have another 9/11, no plotting and to keep our country and or world a better place. If you don't have anything to hide then you won't have anything to worry about. I believe it is a very good idea that there is government involvement to keep everything in control. In the government, there is also the same aspect of computer overseers and hackers. Personnel in this matter, in or out of government involvement, should be held liable both criminal and civil. Employees should not be discriminated due to their own rights whether they are black, white, blue, green, or yellow. If the information does not pertain to you, then it should be none of your business. That is the business of the employer to know or find out about an individual for rights to employment. Discrimination is a big thing that compares to employee privacy rights in the workplace. It is good to have employee privacy rights in the workplace. For example, there is a job posted at your place of employment for a certain job. Individuals 1, 2, and 3 all applied for this job at the same time. #1, 2, and 3 all know each other personally outside and inside their place of employment, but neither of them knew that they had all applied for that same particular job. It is good to keep their personal information and applications within the company until a decision would be made to prevent any hostile work environment. If no information is let out about all three of them applying for the same job at the same time, then when one of them gets the job, then they could just congratulate the individual and share past time stories of how they had all applied. On the other hand, if they all knew it could cause problems between them in and outside of work, and the worst would be inside of work. Reflects on their job performance and then could cause numerous kinds of problems to where none of them get the job and then the company in return still has a position to fill.

Therefore, it is a good thing to have employee privacy rights in the workplace to prevent something bad happening to someone due to their personal information being let out in the open. If privacy rights were broken down into who should know what about whom then less chances of your personal privacy actually being released into the public.
Not only it is helpful to your employer if needed, but also helpful to you for any situation that may occur.

Reference:

1. Arthur, Jeffrey B. (April 1989) Communicating Employee Responsibilities and Rights. In Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 42, p466-467. Retrieved April 07, 2007, from Academic One File via Thomson Gale

2. King, Nancy J. (Sept 2003) Electronic Monitoring to Promote National Security Impacts Workplace Privacy. In Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 15, p127 (21). Retrieved April 07, 2007, from Academic One File via Thomson Gale

3. URL: http://www.apollolibrary.com/Library/library.aspx?bc=1


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