Essay on Rights of Privacy in the Private Sector Workplace

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Employee Privacy Rights: Limitations to Monitoriing

?Companies are intruding more deeply into the lives of employees, and even though corporate intentions may be benign, the risk of backlash is growing.? ?Lee Smith (1)

With the rise of advanced technology, there arose the threat of surveillance and privacy invasion in the workplace. An employee, by the very nature of the employment relationship, must be subject to some level of monitoring by the employer. However, this monitoring has its limits. Rights of privacy primarily are related to organizational invasion of a person?s private life and unauthorized release of confidential information about a person in a way that would cause emotional harm or suffering (2). It is the objective of this paper to find out what types of information employers know and what methods are being used to invade the privacy of employees in the workplace.

The meaning of privacy invasion must be addressed to determine the line in which employers cross their boundaries. Historically, employees are accustomed to maintaining a separation from work and their private life. Personal issues such as religious, political and social beliefs have not been subject or available information to employers for analysis. Off-the-job behavior follows the same parameter; employee?s actions away from the workplace are not the business of the organization. In recent years, those assumptions of employees have slowly dissipated. Employers are now gaining information on employee actions, behaviors and beliefs through various means of electronic outlets, information sources, and scientific and psychological testing procedures. Employers are using that information in the hiring-decision process, job perform...

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1. Lee Smith, ?What the Boss Knows About You.? Fortune, August 9, 1993, p. 89.

2. John W. Newstom and Keith Davis. Organizational Behavior?Human Behavior at Work.
McGraw Hill Companies: 1997.

3. The Publishing Law Center. Law Office of Lloyd L. Rich.1995

4. Workplace Rights. American Civil Liberties Union. 2001

5. Absolute Business Page. 2001

6. Law You Can Use. My Council.Com. 2000-2001

7. American Medical Association. Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. ?Use of
Genetic Testing by Employers?. JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association
266(13): 1827-1830, 2 October 1991.

8. Workplace Rights. American Civil Liberties Union. 2001

9. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 USC 2510.

10. Pen Registers and Trap and Trace Devices, 18 USC 3121, Chapter 206.

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