Electronic Surveillance of Employees Essay Sample

Electronic Surveillance of Employees Pages
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Some would say that workplace privacy rights are non-existent in the private sector. Workplace surveillance is that employers have a legitimate right to conduct surveillance for the benefit of themelves, the community at large for purpose such as detection of fraud and other crimes, the defference of criminality, and in order to comply with laws such as discrimination and defamation law. A employer can engage in electronic surveillance of its employees to further protect his her company however, an employer shoud inform employees that they are subject to monitoring perhaps by setting up a highly visible surveillance system or distributing to all employees and job applicants copies of a surveillance policy or both. Research The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) is the only federal statute that offers workers protections in communications privacy. ECPA prohibits the intentional interception of electronic communications. Some may find that, the ECPA contains loopholes that facilitate employee monitoring. Court found the company’s electronic communications policy to be ambiguous and interpreted the ambiguity against employer.

The court The policy stated that the company could be review any matters on the company’s media systems and services at any time, and that all emails and communications were not to be considered personal or private to employees. The court found the policy disclosure of employee monitoring insufficient, because it did not inform employees that the company stored and could retrieve copies of employees’ private web-based emails. First, employers are permitted to monitor networks for business purposes. This enables employers to listen in on employee phone calls or to view employees’ e-mail. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace. Employers have a need to monitor things such as how productive and loyal the individual is to the corporation (Halbert & Ingulli, 2010). In today’s highly technical society, the ability to monitor employees at work has increased significantly. As a result, the need to determine what constitutes appropriate monitoring is discussed regularly. While heavily debated, there are situations in which an employee can expect to be protected from violating ones privacy in the workplace.

To monitor the after hour activities of an employee who has filed a worker’s compensation claim, for the purpose of the claim is considered lawful. But to monitor these activities for no valid reason is considered unlawful. However, employers have the right to protect their business success, their finances, their buildings, and all of their equipment. There should be no expectations of privacy at any workplace by an employee. Most employees are becoming self aware and frequently increasingly concerned about their privacy on daily basis, as their employers are constantly monitoring them electronically way more obvious than ever before. Thought, attempt had been tried to block this sneaking activity, but the number of failures at some state whom tried to prevent this monitoring activity still failing, as employers always have some strong various reasons to sneaking into their employee. The only place an employee should reasonably expect to have privacy is in the restroom area. When you first get hired by a company all your information regarding your social security, maiden names, emergency contacts, work history, incomes, even credit history, and background checks are examined.

In the office workplace there are typically two types of workspaces, an open area, in which there are several desks and where conversations can be overhead, or an enclosed office, in which—when the door is closed—conversations cannot be heard and where one would expect virtually total privacy. Explain whether it makes a difference if an employee is in an open area or in an enclosed office. It definitely makes a big different if the employee is working in an open area than an enclosed office. The difference is that the levels of privacy are measure depending how many walls, doors and even ceiling an employee can get to develop its job. Working in an open area will depend most of the time on the type of job an employee is performing and its own feelings. Open areas allow better communication, flexibility and interaction among co-workers and the preference of not be all alone, being well informed and connected, but will increase the levels of noise, distractions and the general sense of less privacy. Normally in open areas there is less privacy than enclosed office, anyone can hear or see anything happening around. Related to this in an open area having a private conversation with someone is not a god idea. Because of nature of environment defending that” it was private conversation” does not work on the court.

Really whether it’s an open or closed office space, the location is still considered employer premises. Therefore, both locations are still subject to employer surveillance monitoring. Open area workspace is quickly becoming the new work environment. This creates a more team work environment. Explain if Herman’s need to know whether his salespersons are honest is a sufficient ground for utilizing electronic surveillance Herman had every right to use surveillance on his employee, because it was in the best interest of his business. Herman has the right to monitor his employees. However, he does not have the right to monitor them without disclosing this information. Herman should Page 5 have made his employees aware during their initial orientation that the company holds discretion to monitor them at any time. Even if electronic surveillance was something that occurred at a later date he should have made his employees aware so that they would not be blindsided.

This would have helped them understand that their jobs were at jeopardy if they did not act in a manner that was professional and honest in accordance with the business culture. I believe his employee was not aware they would be monitored. Herman’s need to know whether or not his salespersons are honest is in fact a reasonable ground for utilizing electronic surveillance. Just like most employers, Herman wants to be sure that his employees are doing a good job and doing the right thing for the business. Electronic surveillance is justified if the employer discovers evidence that the policies of his company are not being followed as required. Herman discovered dishonest behavior from one of his employees. Explain to what extent an employer can engage in electronic surveillance of employees. An employer should be to engage as much as he want. Workplace surveillance is that employers have a legitimate right to conduct surveillance for the benefit of themselves and the community at large, for purposes such as the detection of fraud and other crimes, the deterrence of criminality, and in order to comply with laws such as discrimination and defamation law.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), rarely protects electronic surveillance of employees. Simply put, an employer is free to servile their employees as long with only two considerations to the lawfulness of the surveillance. One, the surveillance or monitoring must not be carried through in an obnoxious manner. conducting some form of electronic monitoring of their employees (Halbert, 2010). The American Management Association conducted a survey in which the rate of workplace surveillance drastically increased. This surveillance was being conducted via videotaping, monitoring IM, email accounts, bogging and GSP satellite tracking of cars and cell phones. Employers are monitoring employees with and without their knowledge. Explain to what extent the inclusion of innocent, unaware third-parties in such surveillance determine whether it is legal. In terms of the inclusion of innocent, unaware third-parties and the legality of it goes, courts will consider how intrusiveness of surveillance in some cases. For example, if the nature of monitor is less intrusive then it has a greater chance of being legal. For that reason more often than not, employees are made of aware of the monitoring during the recruitment period and periodically throughout their employment.

Making surveillance systems visible and posting surveillance policies an employer makes the employee aware of the possibility of surveillance. When it comes to third-parties (customer) surveillance, by law a customer must be notified that a conversation or encounter is being monitored. Doing so is one step to ensure that the surveillance a legal act. The other way to ensure that innocent, unaware third-party persons are protected is by making it mandatory that consent be given for the surveillance once notified. This example is one of few clear cut laws in the regulation of private sector surveillance. Overall, workplace privacy rights laws are few and weak, there are other employee rights that protect the employee and entitle challenging immoral invasion of privacy (Employee Issues, 2011).

Conclusion: The investment of electronic surveillance by employers continues to be an enormous proposition. The enormous costs of these activities must be factored into all decisions as they relate to surveillance. In order for companies’ to operate from a peak performance and teamwork perspective, a sincere level of trust MUST be established between the employer and its highly valued employees.


Halbert T.& Ingulli, E. (2009). Law & ethics in the business environment: 2010 custom edition (6th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. (2011). Employee Issues. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from http://employeeissues.com[->0] Workplace Fairness. “Surveillance at Work”. Retrieved on April, 19 2011 from http://www.workplacefairness.org/surveillance [->0] – http://employeeissues.com/

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