Employee Privacy Rights in the Workplace

Employee Privacy Rights in the Workplace
When you are an employee, you would want to be treated and compensated fairly at all times. Many employees today are aware of all their legal rights that they have at their workplace. They can find all the rights through their employee handbook, and/or through their Human Resources center. But there are still some employees that are not aware about their rights at all. When discussing about employee rights at work, managers and employees seems to have different point of view. Managers want their employees to do their jobs that they are entitling to do. They also want their employees to do their best and not to waste any time on their personal stuff that’s not related to their job. While most employees want to perform their best at work, but still want to be able to have some personal space.

Employee Privacy Rights in the Workplace are essential because it helps to protect the integrity of the employees and the company. Every employer wants their employees to do well, and to be able to perform their jobs descriptions. That is why many companies are being very strict with their employees about using company’s essentials for personal uses. Most companies don’t even let their employees use the company’s essentials such as telephones, computer terminals, and internet access during their break time. The reason is that when the computers are used for personal purposes, it can cause other computers in the company to run slower, because it might be using a different program, and another reason is that someone can hacked into the company’s computer and steal all the company’s data base, private information, and ect. To avoid any of these things from happening the company can set aside a few old/used computers that employees can use during their break times to check their emails, or to use it for personal use. That way the company can feel safe and secure that none of their data, or any business related information can be lost. The company should also have a sign stated that these computers are still being monitored for websites only, which means there will be no monitoring into anyone’s emails, or personal stuff. This will help to ensure that no employees are using the computers for inappropriate usage, such as using the computers to go on inappropriate websites.

Every employee wants to do their job well, and to be able to perform their job descriptions, but they do not want their every moved to be logged or monitored. With many new technologies employers are now able to monitor every aspect of their employees. Employers’ can monitor their employees on the telephones, computer terminals, and internet access. In the Employee Issues (2003-2008) states that “Up to 92% of private-sector employers conduct some type of electronic surveillance on their employees. Most company may do so even without the consent or knowledge of their employees” (para. 1). Every employees should have the right to know if there is any type of monitoring going on, such as computer key strokes and files, internet, web, and email usage, locations, movements, and activities, phone conversations, and phone numbers that have been dialed, and job performances. That way they are informed of what is going on around them, so that they don’t feel like they are been invaded at any point.

Many employers will record their employee’s phone calls for reasons of quality controls, without having any consent from their employees. How is this invading the privacy of the employees? When the call is being monitored without any knowledge of the employee, it makes it harder on the employee. The reason for that is because when an employee is making a phone call to a customer and it is being recorded without any consent to the employee that is invading the privacy between the employee and the customer. For instances the conversations between the employee and customers are private, and the customer do not want anyone to know what they are talking about. When the conversations are being recorded without informing the employee or the customer the conversations is then isn’t private anymore. That can cause the customers to lose trust and interest in the company and the employee, when the customer finds out that the conversations between them and the employee were not private and that they were not being informed about the recorded conversations. But when the company is being honest and letting their employees know that all their phone calls are being monitored or recorded, they can let the customers know before they start any conversation. That way the customers will appreciate the employee and the employee will appreciate the company more by letting them know what is going on. Employers can also let their employees know when there is any monitoring by putting a peep tone on the phone, that way the employee knows that the conversation is being recorded, and they can let the customer know if they need to.

Not many employers want their employees to have personal phone calls while they are at work. There are many employees that have kids or their own personal stuff that they have to sometimes deal with even when they are at work. Sometimes employees use their work time to make personal phone calls to check up on things that is going on that they might be worried about because they are at work. Most employees know their limits on personal phone calls. Employers should allow their employees to be able to make personal phone calls if needed, but with a minimal time limit. When the employees know that the company cares about their employees they would want to work harder for them, because they feel like they have some personal space at work when needed. When the employees are making personal phone calls there shouldn’t be any recording or monitoring going on because that’s invading their privacy. In the Privacy Rights Clearing House (1993-2006) stated that “An important exception is made for personal calls. Under federal case law, when an employer realizes the call is personal, he or she must immediately stop monitoring the call”. (Watkins v. L.M. Berry & Co., 704 F.2d 577, 583 (11th Cir. 1983). Unless the employee chooses to use a specific phone that’s strictly for business to make a personal phone call then they are taking a risk that the call may be monitored. Otherwise every personal phone call shouldn’t be monitored unless told otherwise. To help keep the employees to use the company’s phones, employers should create a policy that states:

1When needed to make any personal phone calls please use your mobile phone first.
2)If you do not have a mobile phone, there is a phone that they can use for personal calls when needed.
3)If they choose to use a phone that’s not designated for personal calls, their call might be monitored or recorded.
4)There are specific computers that employees can use during their break time for any personal use, there will monitor these computers web sites only. There is no monitoring into the employees, email or personal stuff. This will help to ensure that no employees are using the computer for inappropriate usage, such as inappropriate websites.
These policies will help the employees understand more about what the company‘s policy on personal phone calls. It will also help to prevent from invading anyone’s personal space or anyone’s personal privacy.

Employee Privacy Rights in the Workplace are essential because it helps to protect the integrity of the employees and the company. Every employee should have the rights to know about everything that is going on in the company. They should all be aware of what is happening, what is important that they can learn from, and they should always be updated or informed about any new policies that the company has. It is really important that the employee understands what the company’s point of view is, that will make the employee more knowledgeable about the company. Every company should have a written policy about monitoring employees, the policy should include that every phone in the company are been monitor or recorded, except for specific phones that are for employees to use when needed for personal calls. The policy should be posted where employees are able to see it, and it should also be in their employee handbook. These policies will help to protect the privacy of the employees, customers, and the company. Watching Workers (2007) stated that “respecting the personal lives of your employees is good business.”

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