COM 285 Week 5 Individual Assignment Employee Privacy Report
COM 285 Week 5 Individual Assignment Employee Privacy Report
CSU - Dominguez hills
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Date Created: 11/16/15
Employee Privacy Report 1 Employee Privacy Report It is the rare employee in any industry today who does not use email or the Internet during his or her workday for a business and sometimes personal purpose Many employees make comments or reveal information through their email messages that they may prefer their employers not know about Other employees may use the Internet to search for jobs shop or do other things they also would not want their employers to know about Many of these employees may not understand or care about their employers privacy policies nor understand the legal standards that apply to employee privacy and just assume that what they do on their PCs at work is private They are wrong however Employee workplace privacy rights are virtually nonexistent in privatesector employment and it is estimated that up to 92 of privatesector employers conduct some type of electronic surveillance on their employees Employee Workplace Privacy Rights 2010 Employers and employees have greatly benefited from the use of email and the Internet Email and the Internet have also changed the way employers can supervise employees There are few restrictions on employers ability to do this No state or federal law gives employees a privacy right and only a few states even require employers to tell their employees that they are being supervised electronically Employee Workplace Privacy Rights 2010 In a 2007 survey conducted by the American Management Association most employers indicated that they used some form of electronic surveillance on their employees 73 monitored email messages 66 monitored Web surfing 48 used video surveillance 45 monitored keystrokes and keyboard time and 43 monitored computer files Employee Workplace Privacy Rights 2010 Employee Privacy Report 2 In the United States courts indicate that employers have full rights to view monitor and investigate how employees use any work assets or machinery because employers own all of the computers telephones computer networks and other tools employees use to do their work Fact Sheet 7 2010 Courts have said that when employees use employerowned equipment at any time employers have the right to video employees at work listen to employee phone calls or voicemails read emails even if these are labeled private in some form and track employee sending and receiving of files surfing or accessing the Internet and many other things Fact Sheet 7 2010 Employees have very narrow rights to privacy if any at all and employers have the majority of rights regarding supervision of emails and Internet use While this may seem unfair it is also true that employers are equally liable for employee misuse of emails or the Internet if for example an employee uses these things to discriminate or do some other illegal act such obtain pornography Monitoring Employee Email Efficient Workplace vs Employee Privacy 2001 This risk however does not alone seem to support employers nearly unlimited rights to monitor record and even investigate every action communication access or use of e mail or the Internet Employers however do have this right and the law firmly supports their rights in this area There may not be any general employee privacy laws but the law does offer employees in some situations some privacy rights The employee privacy rights that are protected however are only those that apply to employee telephone use or employee purses briefcases lockers and other personal property they bring to work Employees Rights 101 2010 Employers are also prevented from video taping employees or violating any private areas where employees can be said to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such as bathrooms or dressing areas Employee Privacy Report 3 Employees Rights 101 2010 When employees use their employer email systems or Internet services however even if they access them from their own homes whether or not they use an employer owned computer courts have said employees lack any reasonable expectation of privacy Employees Rights 101 2010 Only if a court at least under some states laws finds that an employer has somehow caused employees to believe or allowed them to believe verbally in writing or through actions that employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email or Internet use will employees have any privacy rights Rich 1995 Courts do not however easily conclude that an employer has created a reasonable expectation of privacy For example courts have determined that an employer with an email system that labels certain messages as private or confidential does not create a reasonable expectation of private Fact Sheet 7 2010 This indicates that for a court to determine that an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her email or Internet use the employer had to specifically state that employees have private email or Internet usage not just suggest it or just allow an employee to make erroneous conclusion While it seems that employers have full rights in this area many employers still prefer to issue employer privacy policies to ensure employees fully understand their employer s rights to monitor email and Internet use By issuing such policies employers can be sure that employees cannot then claim that they had any expectation of privacy Employers email and Internet use policies normally indicate that employers reserve all rights to supervise monitor investigate retrieve read track and otherwise control their employees email and Internet access or use Rich 1995 These employer policies also create rules for employees to follow when they use emails or the Internet Employee Privacy Report 4 that help employers establish clear to ensure these systems are properly used by their employees In fact of the 2007 survey by the American Management Association found that 30 of employers fired employees for violating Internet policies and 28 of employers had fired employees for violating email policies Employee Workplace Privacy Rights 2010 Also employers need to have policies that strictly prohibit illegal use of email or the Internet to avoid being liable for an employee s illegal use of these tools Rich 1995 For the reasons stated above it is safest for employees to assume that they do not have any privacy interests in their email or Internet I work for a large company that has a very clear Internet and email policy The policy is given to all employees on their first day on the job and is included in the employee handbook Employees need to sign a document that states they have received and read their employee handbook The Internet and email policy state that all computer networks systems used by employees while at work are owned by the company and that it reserves the right to monitor supervise investigate and terminate all employee access use and interaction with email and the Internet It directly states that employees have no rights to any emails or systems in the company Employers have almost all rights to supervise investigate and monitor employees who use company emails or company computers or networks to access the Internet Employers can do this during or after employees use these tools Unless the law changes in this area employees must assume that anything they do or say on an email or on the Internet can be seen by their employers Employee Privacy Report 5 References Employees Rights 101 2010 FindlaWcom Retrieved April 23 2010 from httpemplovmentfindlawcomemploymentemplovmentemployee overviewemploymenteleoveeoverviewoverviewhtml Wugmeister M amp Bevitt A 2008 Comparing the US and EU Approach to Employee Privacy Morrison amp Foerster LLP Retrieved April 23 2010 from httpWWWmofocomnewsupdatesfiles 13575html
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