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"Employee Privacy": The Risks And Complications Involved On The Issue Of Employee Privacy In The Workplace.

1364 words - 5 pages

Introduction.The introduction of the Internet has effectively changed the way we do business. Almost every successful business in the world must now be on-line in order to survive the competition. Even company employees often require Internet access to perform their jobs. This has caused quite a dilemma for many employers. How can they provide Internet access to their workers and feel confident that it will not be misused in a way that would be harmful to the company? This essay will examine this issue in detail and focus on the possible affects that could result from a company that removes employee privacy by monitoring their use of the Internet. Disregarding whether it should be legal or not, is it morally acceptable for the employer to monitor the employee?Moral Dilemma.This can be a tricky question to answer because of all the variables involved. There are many people who would say that a company has absolutely no moral right to invade the privacy of their employees. What about the employee who is using the computer to steal from the company? There may also be instances when a worker has a vendetta against his or her workplace and seeks to somehow harm the company. These factors must be considered when logically answering this question. It is true that employee moral can have both positive and negative impacts on company success. Because of this, there has to be some level of privacy at the workplace in order to preserve the welfare and moral of the workers.An article in "The Business Lawyer" by Charles E. Frayer entitled Employee privacy and Internet monitoring: Balancing workers' rights and dignity with legitimate management interests explores both the moral and legal aspects of employee privacy when it comes to Internet use. With regard to the employee's moral right to privacy, Mr. Frayer states that employers should not spy on a worker's innocent emailing and Internet research when there is no harm being caused by it. This holds true especially when it is done during breaks and lunch hours. On the other hand, Mr. Frayer points out that "an employer who has reason to believe an employee is using the Internet to reveal trade secrets would be foolish not to take appropriate steps to either confirm or alleviate such suspicion". In these cases, monitoring online activity is the only sure-fire way of confirming such wrong doings. If we lived in a perfect world, every company would follow this policy and there would never be a problem. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are workers doing harm to their company who hide behind privacy acts and many companies willfully infringe on all employee privacy. This is why it becomes necessary to examine the legal aspects of this subject.The Law.Employee privacy is a war that has been fought dating back almost 200 years before the computer was even invented. Often times, both employers and employees seek to apply these old privacy laws to their cause. Mr. Frayer's article notes that public employees...

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