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Posted: December 18th, 2019

Invasion of Privacy by Employee Monitoring Essay

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Employee monitoring has been a serious controversial issue in the modern workplaces besides its necessity. There are many technological surveillance methods are being used today, and it does not only monitor the quantity of work but the quality. Many employers believe that the monitoring helps to increase productivity and customer service activity and control and keep the business in an ideal, stable shape. They sometimes use it to determine one’s promotions and pay decisions as well as to reinforce disciplinary actions.

However, what about employee’s privacy? Do employers think that the current monitoring situation is really fair to their employees? Lots of employers use different types of monitoring methods including computer monitoring, video surveillance, investigators, undercover operatives, spying, eavesdropping, wiretapping, and electronic mail and voice mail. All these methods are derived from high technology have made it so easy for those who are monitoring to overstep the boundaries from business information to private information.

Many computer programs allow employers to access and monitor employee’s activities such as e-mail communication, keyboard activity, and website visiting history.

A frequently debated issue is whether an employer has the right to read and check employee e-mail and voice messages. One recent survey shows that more than 73% of companies search or read employee files, e-mail messages, web connections, and other networking communication technology (Shelly & Vermaat, 2011, p. 590). Another data shows 25% of them have fired employees for misusing communication technology.

The problem is that currently, there is no privacy laws exist relating to employee e-mail even though several lawsuits have been filed for many years against employers because many people believe that such internal employee communications should be private. (Slobovnik and Stuart 144-160) Another method of surveillance that is commonly used in a workplace is video recording. This is the most effective form of monitoring yet. However, there are restrictions regarding the legality of using this form. It is defined as illegal if there is audible recording along with the images in the tape.

Employees must know that they are being recorded, and most of all, images should not be taken in any undesignated area such as restrooms. In fact, there are some benefits from video surveillance, including increased safety on the job, deter employees from stealing, promote good behavior, and can be used as evidence of a crime. However, video surveillance also can create a false sense of security and a decrease in morale. Imagine if someone is watching where you go and what you do. You might think as if this is not a human workplace but more like a prison. It is absolutely a privacy invasion for employees.

The most recent invention of technological surveillance is a Smartcard. One statistic says that 53% of U. S. companies are using Smartcard, and the numbers are increasing rapidly. It simply controls employees’ physical activities within the company; it allows company to track every personal activity from using cell phones to visiting information. Invasion of privacy is a growing concern among employees. “Electronic monitoring without informing employees that it is taking place is no different than spying. Monitoring is a supervisory tool, not a tool for employee surveillance (CSE, 2006). Monitoring is a simple way of invading employee’s privacy.

For example, computer data banks, telephone and video monitoring, active badges, and other monitoring techniques make the private lives of workers easier to delve into without detection (Mishra, J. M; Crampton, S. M 1998). Employers can maintain the productivity and accuracy of their employees without invading their personal lives by using motivation methods. Punishments should be followed for those who break the company’s policy. However, employers also have to protect their employees’ right as a human being.

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