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 performance and promotion evaluations, and in certain cases, reasons for termination.
Constitutional Rights of Privacy for Employees
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.??Amendment IV to U.S. Constitution
?No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.??Amendment XIV to U.S. Constitution
When the founding fathers of the United States wrote the Constitution, they specifically addressed the most pressing issues of privacy during that period. Those issues included the government?s right to search one?s home as desired and the quartering of U.S. troops in the home. The privacy issues have evolved overtime due to technology and could not have possibly been predicted by the...