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Privacy Rights For Public Employees Essay

1018 words - 4 pages

Constitutional RightsThe Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a reasonable expectation of privacy to all citizens as well as protection from unwarranted search and seizures of personal property. However because the Constitution addresses only actions against individuals by the state, there is a gaping hole of ambiguity left as it pertains to a citizen's rights as an employee within an organization. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, private businesses, especially those whose employees do not belong to unions, are free to violate the privacy of their employees with little worry of reprisal (American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU], 1998). Though many states have tort laws guaranteeing individual privacy from other individuals, very few states in the U.S. have laws in place which protect employee privacy (ACLU, 1998). Of the five states in which McBride Financial Services operates, there are no state employment laws or regulations which govern or even address employee privacy rights, leaving the interpretation of employee civil rights in the hands of private business owners.As a mortgage broker handling sensitive personal information such as credit reports, income, and social security numbers to name a few, McBride Financial Services has a responsibility to its clients to maintain confidentiality. Does this mean then, that employees of McBride Financial Services should be subject to any measure of surveillance and/or monitoring which the company feels is prudent to ensure professional treatment of its client's personal information? Where does an individual's right to privacy end and an employer's right to guarantee quality of work begin? The employees of McBride Financial Services could certainly expect to have their backgrounds and credit reports checked prior to employment particularly because of the nature of the business. It is reasonable as well to expect that email will be monitored, as email is a tool used for employee communication within an organization (Rich, 1995). However, monitoring telephone conversations in the interest of "quality assurance" rings a bit false, given the fact that not every call is monitored and it is reasonable for an employer to expect that an employee who spends 40 hours per week in the office, may at some point have to be contacted at work regarding a personal matter such as medical test results. In this instance, it would indeed be an invasion of privacy if personal medical issues were overheard on a company telephone and subsequently used to terminate employment without explanation or disclosure; it would also, depending on the nature of the medical issues, cross over into the American Disabilities Act would indeed be a federal violation.Following a citizen's right to privacy in the Fourth Amendment is the right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure. As a secure financial services provider, McBride handles confidential information; therefore, in an effort to deliver the...

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