Electronic Surveillance of Employees

1422 Words6 Pages
1. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace. By 2003, 92 percent of employers were conducting some form of electronic monitoring of their employees (Halbert, 2010), just imagine what that number is today. Employees do not have rights involving company email systems, phone lines, voicemails, cell phones, pagers, and any computer use. In most instances companies have the rights to monitor their employees in order to ensure productivity, ethics, and prevent misuse of company property. However, employees do have some extent of privacy in the workplace. Employees are protected in regards to their personnel records, medical and health information, social security numbers, background screening, credit reports, and financial information. Employers must get consent from employees before gathering personal information and must keep employees information confidential. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was revamped by Congress in 1986 and now covers all forms of digital communications, including private email. Under the ECPA, it is illegal to intercept, disclose, or access messages without authorization, which appears to protect employees from eavesdropping. However, there are several exceptions to this law, and if any one of these applies, monitoring can take place under appropriate circumstances. The exceptions generally allow employers to monitor business-related phone calls, to monitor communications when there has been employee consent, and to retrieve and access stored e-mail messages (Halbert, 2010). There is a very gray line between employee privacy in the workplace and intrusion. Each case must be taken into careful consideration, most courts consider two main factors: The obnoxiousness of the means to intrude, that is, whether it is a deviation from the normal, accepted means of discovering the relevant
Open Document