Most employees do not realize that information transmitted electronically through an organization’s information system is not private. Although companies do implement high safety mechanisms, such as firewalls and passwords, to certify privacy they still reserve the right to monitor an employee’s usage of company property. The majority of companies have put into practice some type of Internet usage policy of what the company regards as suitable usage of the company’s resources to gain access to the Internet and what privacy rights their employees may or may not have.
In today's place of work, employee's individual civil liberties are being infringed upon because organizations are monitoring and examining their employees' undertakings. Actions range from e-mails, keystrokes, phone calls, and Internet use. In addition, workplace monitoring is on the rise, almost 75% of American businesses now employ some type of surveillance method to watch their employees. Electronic exchanges such as e-mail and the internet increase employee efficiency and productivity. According to Andrew Schulman (2001), “as many as 40 million American workers, which is nearly 1/3 of the entire United States workforce, have Internet and / or e-mail access at work” (Para. 9). According to the Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance survey implemented by the American Management Association more than 75 percent of United States corporations examine, record, and document their employee’s activities and communication while on the job. These included e-mail, computer files, Internet use, and phone calls. The subject of monitoring has been a highly contentious subject because of the numerous cases in which employees have been terminated as a result of monitoring of their Internet usage and e-mail.
Every company has the task to determine what they consider suitable usage of e-mail and the Internet by its workers. Policies and procedures should provide guidelines on usage and specify whether personal use is permitted. My organization is committed to protecting employee privacy but also makes it clear that electronic information transmitted and received on company equipment belongs to the company. The company's Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy outlines how access will be granted, appropriate use, personal usage, storage, and personal privacy. The policy makes it clear that the company considers all information transmitted or received on company equipment belongs to the company and that employees should not expect that any messages are private. Each employee is expected to exercise good judgment as to the Internet sites that are visited and the messages that are transmitted. Separate policies and procedures outline the types of documents that can and cannot be transmitted via company equipment and the disciplinary actions that could result from any abuse.
Many states have specific laws protecting employee privacy. For example, some states prohibit employers from...