Employer’s Rights vs. Employee’s Privacy
The subject matter surrounding an employer’s right to information vs. an employee’s right to privacy seems to be an ever proliferating area of complexity and contention. Escalating use of social media sites like, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, are making personal lives and opinions more public in nature which in turn has lead to the rethinking of current conceptions of privacy.
Is an opinion expressed in a personal blog related to professional life? Does being captured in a video that’s uploaded to the web showing a person participating in some form of over-enthusiastic celebration reflect on them professionally?
The text that follows will not delve into a discussion on the legalities of the issue, but rather deliberate on how social networking and employers/companies are intertwined and whether it is an employers right to pass judgement on an employees activities via online material.
It is in some professional’s opinions that employment is a privilege and not a right. A job is something an employee has to compete for to secure, as well as perform up to certain expectations to retain.
An article in The Telegraph online stated that employers were using Facebook as a tool to double check how likely it would be that their new worker would take a sick day for being hung over or on drugs the night before. It also said job seekers were being found out for lying about their qualifications, with employers checking their Facebook pages to see if their online details matched their resume.(1)
This is evidence that the line between professional life and private life is very slim, if not nonexistent.
So why does an employer need to have so much access to the personal information of its employees? An employee is a direct representative of the company and his/her actions, either on or off the job, are a direct reflection on the employer’s brand, reputation, and image in the marketplace. Companies in reality are most frequently...