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Employee Privacy Rights In The Workplace

1754 words - 7 pages

There are several forms of privacy invasions happening in the workplace everyday. The creator has found several ways employees? rights are being violated. They are the following; background checks, finger printing, information technology surveillance, interrogations-including asking questions about personal life, metal detectors, search and seizures, and testing (alcohol, drug, genetic, lie detector testing, medical, physical and psychological).The person behind this thesis choose to narrow it down to one form of privacy invasion; it is information technology (IT) surveillance.Because there are not enough verdicts shielding employee's privacy rights, recent technology effortlessly permits employers to invade employee's privacy rights in the workplace. According to Lichtash's (Lichtash, 2004, p. 33) article, the amended federal Wire Tap Act by the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986 ?prohibits the interception, recording and disclosure of ?any wire, oral, or electronic communication? unless the parties to the communication consent, either explicitly or implicitly.? However, a written statement from Mr. Strauss (Strauss, 2006, p. 18) states, ?Because electronic communications are so relatively new, there is not a lot of law to go on. On a federal level, while there is both a constitutional ?right to privacy? and a right against unreasonable ?searches are seizures,? but by and large they doesn?t apply to the workplace. [sic]?. Concluding, information technology allows employers to invade employees? privacy rights in the workplace (Strauss, 2006).The author found it ironic that the amended federal ?Wire Tap Act by the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986 prohibits the interception, recording and disclosure of any wire, oral, or electronic communication? (Strauss, 2006, p. 18). Certainly, email is electronic mail. So, why is it not covered under this amendment? The Wire Tap act clearly states, ??prohibits the interception, recording and disclosure of any wire, oral, or electronic communication.?(Strauss, 2006, p. 18).Current machinery allows communications to be asynchronous. There are several forms of asynchronous communication at work. Instant messaging, email, and the telephone are all forms of asynchronous communications. Email is text mail sent from one person to another person electronically through the internet. Instant messaging is typed communication in a small window from one person to another in real time over the internet. Of Course, everyone knows the telephone is verbal communication in real time with another person.Information technology (aka. IT) surveillance in the workplace can be stressful to the employees. However, combining online communication and employment can be scandalous. They cannot enjoy going on their break and ?surfing the net? or check their email, because the employer can monitor their surfing habits. Ritesh Batra (Batra et al, 2001, p. 10) in her article in the New Accountant writes: An employee of a...

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