There are many aspects of employee privacy. However, this paper briefly examines the legal implications of using technology, particularly the use of electronic monitoring to protect employer's assets, while providing a safe work environment and respecting the employees' privacy. It also gives suggestions for policies and procedures to be implemented
What is privacy? Legal scholars have debated this question for centuries. Some scholars say that the right to privacy can be indirectly traced back to the constitution; others say it as evolved over time through common-law torts. "The right of privacy has evolved to protect the ability of individuals to determine what sort of information about themeslevs is collected, and how that information is used." (Wex, n/p) Still the issue is confusing for two main reasons: (1) One it is hard to define because it changes from generation to generation; (2) It is not widely accepted as a fundamental right. A hundred years after it was established, the "right to privacy" is still vague. (Lane, pp. 4-5). This grey area only further complicates the modern work place. As new technology in the work place continues to advance so do the complexities of balancing the employer’s need to protect its assets and provide a safe workplace with a respect for employees’ privacy.
What kind of privacy should an employee be able to expect at work? The authors of Information Systems Management in Practice list four rights in their definition of privacy: (1) Freedom from intrusion, (2) Right to be left alone, (3) the right to control information about oneself, and (4) Freedom from surveillance (McNurlin/Sprague, pp. 553). Robert Mathis defines the employee’s right to privacy as “…an individual’s freedom from unauthorized and unreasonable intrusion into personal affairs.” (pg. 502). Although employee privacy is not specifically addressed in the constitution, several...