These days courts are facing a lot of issues concerning decisions made on an employer’s right to know against the employee’s right to privacy. Employer interests seem to conflict with the employee’s privacy rights these days. Individuals are paid for their productivity, however in recent times there is a lot of apprehension of time wastage especially with net surfing and social networking. This sometimes leads to liabilities for an employer by means of circulation of inappropriate material and causing viruses to be downloaded. This leads to loss of precious time and money. The employees on the other hand find employers very invasive as they keep following and monitoring their every move.
A lot many privacy-invasive techniques are used these days that include but not limited to computer software that trace movements, monitoring of telephones and emails. Other ways are taken up as well that pertains to credit checks, background checks, circuit surveillance, location tracking etc.
A few of these modes are discussed below.
Monitoring the computer
The work habits of the employee can easily be tracked with the computer. Employees can be monitored anytime as the boss has access to the computer network and the terminal. Computer software available can help track any kind of internet usage, mails and even keystrokes.
The intranet and email system of a company can be accessed by the boss with no trouble at all. An employer can choose to monitor any mail that goes or comes to the employee. Mail systems have backups and so even the erased mails remain in the system to be accessed later.
Telephone conversations can be tracked and monitored provided the employee shares his consent to the employer. The organization needs to ensure the employee is aware of the procedure wherein the calls are monitored.
Dialed telephone numbers
A pen register allows recording the telephone numbers dialed by the employee. The numbers dialed along with the length of each call can be viewed with this provision.
A location tracking software can be used for this purpose. Any movement by the employee through the workplace can be detected. This is used primarily for security purposes. This way the employer is able to check the time a person spends on doing each task.
Apart from people who have some form of misconduct to their names, others can opt to choose their right to privacy. Certain rights are outlined below.
· Background checks
An employer needs to keep the employee informed about such checks and also requires consent before going forward with the checks.
· Going through personal stuff
Personal belongings cannot be checked in the workplace.
· Disclosing employee information is offensive.
Though it is very obvious that some of these measures are extreme, all said and done you are being paid for productivity and that should be your main concern. That said all these measures shouldn’t affect you much as a responsible employee.