Employees’ right to privacy in the working environment has stirred quite a controversy within the media for the past years. Right to privacy has been a hot topic with the industry especially in this age when technology and information can easily be shared with a click. Telecommunications such as internet and e-mails have paved a way for faster and more private methods of communication, but it is through these types of privacy that agitated employers. Companies have shared concerns about how to monitor their employees without the fear of prosecution.
When employers would monitor their employees’ emails or other types of communication, it makes them feel that it is a violation of their privacy. But that is usually allowed in some states. Employee activities, especially ones that are conducted on the company grounds, have more protection in terms of privacy. Employers can have reasons to monitor employee activities since such hidden communications can harbor illegal activities such as substance abuse.
Employers also need to know the people they are hiring, hence the need for personal information. They also have to address both personal and professional issues for the benefit of their workplace. Workplace surveillance and monitoring serve to ensure the security of other employees.
The employer’s need for information and the employee’s right to privacy should find balance.
- Employers should clearly state what personal information they require from their employees and candidates. They should also clearly state for what purpose does it serve to give private information.
- The collection, disclosure, and use of private information should be done with full knowledge of the employee. It is with full consent that they give personal information to the responsibility of the employer.
- Gathering of employee information should only comprise what is necessary for the employer for future reference.
- The method of gathering employee information should be done through lawful means. Hacking emails, social media accounts, and rummaging through private mail can mean that this is a breach of an employee’s right to privacy.
- Employers should not give out private information of their employees easily. Only when they are dealing with legal action that it is required to access personal information of the employee. Other than that, employers should not give away personal data other than its stated purpose.
- Employees should not give false information. All the data that they provide to their employer should be thorough, factual, and updated. If ever any of their provided information has changed in the course that they are still employed, they should notify their employer of any changes.
- The personal information should be accessible to employees. They should have the right to see that the information they had provided had not been altered or changed. If so, they have the right to question those responsible in handling their personal data.
Many companies now have practices for the privacy of their employees. It is required by law that employees have the right to question company liability. Employee privacy is not just avoiding litigations; it is about the right of an individual to set boundaries and have it respected.