Is Employer Monitoring of Employee Social Media Justified? Essay Sample
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Introduction of TOPIC
Is Employer Monitoring of Employee Social Media Justified?
Social networks have been making a splash in the internet world over the past couple of years. In some studies into the monitoring of social media activity by employees has once again brought to light the various concerns and complaints that this contentious area inevitably generates. The idea of monitoring employees’ conversations has a certain Orwellian darkness that encourages accusations of privacy invasion and corporate spying. Indeed, some companies have taken this too far – some reportedly even requesting their employee’s Facebook login details. However, by and large the concept of employee monitoring – when done appropriately – seems to me to be relatively contentious. Clearly, asking employees for their Facebook passwords is several steps over the line in terms of privacy, but many of the other questions that people have raised about this area seem to make a mountain out of a molehill. While employees unquestionably have a right to express themselves in private about any issue they choose, if that employee is expressing an opinion in a public forum about their employer then it immediately becomes an area of legitimate interest for that employer. The key distinction seems to be between public and private. If an employee posts content in a private forum – for example their personal Facebook wall with security settings on – then it is not appropriate for a company to monitor that content. However, if an employee posts something mentioning their employer to an open twitter account, or on a public discussion board, then that
content is open to all and is thus of legitimate interest to the employer.
These posts – where the individual clearly named their employer – could have had a significant impact on the companies’ public reputations and therefore were of justified interest to the companies in question. Yes, there are subsequent questions about how a company should act upon this sort of information. Whether one should discipline an employee for discussing workplace conditions online could be a legal minefield, but that is an HR issue and not a monitoring one. What seems certain is that the monitoring of employees’ use of a company’s brand on the social web is not only justified but potentially highly valuable. But also while most think this is a question of moral constitution, it however is a question each employer must ask themselves if it is worth the trouble of losing the trust of their employees. So in part I believe that employers must not allow social networks to be accessed at work or during the hours of work. But the employer must also know that with technology that is continually growing it would be hard to stop, only way would be let employees know that there are punishments set in order to prevent this from occurring.