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Electronic Monitoring And Workplace Privacy Essay

These privacy policies are designed to both provide a clear guideline for employees on the difference between Job related and personal privacy. The polices are designed to create a standard set of procedures that apply equally to all employees. The company goal is to provide a fair workplace for everyone, while at the same time protect the organizations professional reputation. The privacy policies are all in compliance with state, federal, and international laws.

Employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy within the workplace; however there are circumstances when an employer has a legitimate right to monitor, Investigate, and review the activities of Its employees. The following identifies business practices that may be enacted to ensure the integrity of company products and property, workplace safety, and the monitoring of employee productivity. Personal Background Information It is the company’s policy to conduct thorough background checks on all potential new employees.

As a general rule, the following Items are verified: Education and Degrees Past Employment Criminal Records if any Social Security checks Existing employees’ privacy will be enforced by: Allowing employees access to their personnel file for review and verification. OFF released with the employee’s written permission. The employer will protect the employee’s information and ensure that any personal data is accurate and reliable.

The employer has the right-to-search under reasonable cause which protects the interest of the employer and its employees, but must not be intrusive in nature. Off Work Activities It is appropriate for employers to discipline their employees when they do something wrong at work. But employers should only discipline for things done at work and work only unless it is affecting the employees work performance. Depending on its affects on an employee’s work performance, an employer may take actions regarding an employee’s private life.

Companies are very concerned about this issue and how to treat employees who may have personal problems. Management methods vary in obtaining the best performance out of the employees, but generally restrict their interest in personal matters to only what is affecting the productivity of the employee. Whatever the employee does off company property should be and is the employees business. As long as whatever the employee is doing doesn’t create a cane for the company to be exposed in any manner, the company should have no concerns.

Electronic Monitoring Now that we live in a technological era, employers can monitor their employees every move while at work. On the telephones, on the computer, and even when using the Internet, employers can see exactly what employees are doing. When monitoring computers at the workplace, employers can now utilize programs that let them see exactly what employees are doing on the computer. Another way employers monitor if employees are working or how long they have been away from there computer is sing an idle time. Idle time means when the computer is not in use.

Employers may let their employees know that their emails and what they are viewing on the internet may be monitored by sending out memos, or in a contract that employers have employees sign when they are being considered for employment, as an email to employees, or in an employee handbook. Employers may also use cameras to monitor employees. Whether the camera is hooked on directly to the computer to see if employees are whether the company installed the cameras on the ceiling to surveillance employees on the Job. A company’s privacy protection can limit the company’s liability in many ways.

By monitoring employees work and progression, a company can ensure that the employee is being productive. By monitoring an employee’s productivity, the company can ensure that employee is performing all their Job duties and performing them correctly. If performed incorrectly, the company may be held responsible. Companies can also monitor employees to ensure all employees are using the company’s assets for company related reasons and not conducting any personal or illegal activities that can potentially harm the company.

If an employee was conducting personal business or illegal activities by using the company’s assets, the company may be held responsible and face legal charges and/or loss. A company’s privacy protection can enhance employee motivation and productivity because by knowing that the managers are monitoring their productivity, computers, systems, etc at all time, employees will ensure they are being proactive. In addition, employees will ensure they are not using any company assets for personal gain or knowledge because they are aware someone is monitoring them at all times.

Privacy Definitions and Scope Privacy, as used in this document, refers to any of the four separate, but related, following concepts. Information privacy (or data protection): refers to the rules governing the collection and handling of personal data such as credit information, and medical and government records. Bodily privacy: refers to protection of people’s physical selves against invasive procedures such as genetic tests, drug testing and physical searches. Communications privacy: refers to the security and privacy of mail, telephones, e-mail and other forms of communication.

Territorial privacy: refers to the limits on workplace intrusions. This includes searches, video surveillance and ID checks (Privacy International, 2004). Regulatory Compliance In order to be in compliance with state, federal and international laws regarding privacy, the company has identified the following basic guidelines derived from Privacy Act of 1974 provisions for public-sector employers. Informed of the purposes for which the files are being used. Employees have the opportunity to review their personnel records on a quarterly basis in order to correct or make amendments.

The employee should be able to prevent information from being inappropriately valued or used without her or his consent, unless such disclosure is required by law. Employee records shall only be accessible to members of the Human Resources Department. All requests for access to personnel records, including the subjects themselves, shall be administered through the Human Resources Department. No employee records, or personal information, shall be released without the employee’s prior written consent with the exception of law enforcement requests.

Any such requests shall be directed to the Vice President of Human Resources and the Vice President of the Legal Department for determination and processing. Ethical Considerations The chief ethical consideration involving privacy relate to balancing the organization’s need, and access to information and the employee’s right to privacy. The specific ethical considerations themselves relate to the varying degrees that this balance between these two concerns is compromised.

Additionally, ethical considerations come into play where specific regulations or guidelines fail to identify a particular course of action as unacceptable. In these undefined or ambiguous situations, it is critical that employers provide guidelines to their managers to assist in determining the appropriate course(s) of action. Conclusion Respect and privacy of the employees are fundamental concepts at the organization. The policies in this handbook are structured to promote the fair and ethical treatment of all employees.

The company recognizes that there are boundaries between the workplace and the personal lives of our employees outside of the office. Personal privacy is best ensured when employees limit their use of company assets for personal reasons. By creating a clear guideline for both the employee and the employer, workplace productivity will increase and employees will be motivated to focus on work related tasks while on the Job. A well-defined and fair policy will limit corporate exposure to employment lawsuits by employees who may feel that they are treated unfairly in regards to privacy issues.

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Privacy in the Workplace Essay

Lastly, it will define how organizations privacy protections may limit he company’s liability and how privacy protections enhance employee motivation and productivity. Privacy Rights to be Addressed The majority of employees expect to have a certain amount of privacy In the workplace. Nevertheless, there are times where the employer may have a Justifiable reason to monitor or investigate the employee’s within its organization. The following provides some business practices that may be imposed to assure the honesty of the organization and the employees within the organization.

One privacy right that should be addressed is drug testing. Drug testing helps to ensure the safety of the workplace. According Toscanini and Husbands (1993), “drug and alcohol testing programs should fit within existing arrangements for ensuring the quality of work life, employee rights, the safety, and security of the worksheet, and employer rights and responsibilities (e. G. Protection of the public interest)” (p. 105). The testing should ensure the worker’s rights and confidentiality of the results.

Another Issue to be addressed Is background checks on potential new hires. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FACE) has set guidelines and standards for organizations to follow when implementing a background check. According to Alison Doyle (ND), “the FACE defines a background check as a consumer report. Before an employer can get a consumer report for employment purposes, they must notify you In writing and get your written authorization” (p. 1). Even if an employer is Just running a basic check for inquiry purposes they must still get permission from the employee.

The purpose of the background check Is to ensure that Information that was provided from the applicant is truthful, and some organizations require certain security clearances, or the individual may be applying for a position that works closely with children. The employer still needs to have permission from the applicant in order to run these background checks. Lastly, the employer needs to protect the privacy of employee personal information. By the victim – whether it be a friend, relative, or co-worker” (p. 1).

Employers need to take steps to keep personal information such as social security numbers, home addresses, and phone numbers safe. This information if obtained by the wrong person could lead to identity theft. Employers need to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to keep employee information confidential. This can be done by utilizing an employee number rather Han the employee’s social security number, make sure that personal information is not posted where it is easily accessible, only allowing acceptable personnel to handle confidential information, and dispose of information and documentation appropriately (about. Mom). Limiting Liability It is important that companies understand the different potential corporate and personal liability when preparing, planning, implementing or maintaining an employee privacy handbook section. Companies must remain aware of potential issues that may need to be addressed in order to remain proactive and avoid liability pitfalls. There are many areas of potential liability an organization that includes negligence, liability under the privacy act, loss, or misuse of personal records, and criminal liability.

In order to provide an organization with the most liability protection, they must be aware of what these liabilities are. Negligence is the failure to provide reasonable care, which result in damages to another person or company. If a company or organization does not take reasonable care to provide adequate protection for their employees or customers’ information and the employee or customer suffers damages, the organization may be legally expansible for the amount of loss suffered.

In order to avoid negligence, organizations must be proactive and provide adequate security. Rhea Privacy Act was created to ensure that companies are obligated to provide protection in ways that they retain, collect, use, and disclose personal information Buskin, p. 1). Companies covered by the Privacy Act are required to protect private and personal information they hold. Companies must avoid misuse and loss as well as unauthorized access. Whether it is physical protection or electronic protection, companies must provide a reasonable level of security.

Companies who act negligent and cause excessive damages to individuals or customers may face criminal liability. Companies must act appropriately when dealing with private or personal information. Intentional misuse of personal or private information may result in criminal proceedings. Place adequately protect their employees and customer’s information. It is unlikely that an organization will be held responsible for information lost due to security attacks provided that they have acted reasonably in their attempts to protect the information (Givens, p. 1).

Companies can face significant damages and a direct loss n business as well as liability to third parties if they do not proved the necessary security measures. Ay designing, developing and implementing a strong security policy as well as educating employees on how to handle private and personal information, companies can protect themselves and their employees from potential liabilities. It may be necessary for companies to audit their employees to ensure that information is not being misused. Addressing the laws required in the employee handbook regarding privacy will consist of the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIP).

A PIP is an analysis of how information is handled: (1) to ensure handling conforms to applicable legal, regulatory, in addition, policy requirements regarding privacy, (2) to determine the risks and effects of collecting, maintaining, and disseminating information in identifiable form in an electronic information system, and (3) to examine and evaluate protections and alternative processes for handling information to mitigate potential privacy risks September 26, 2003). “Hen addressing the laws regarding privacy in the employee handbook the following processes will occur.

Whenever any agency makes a determination under section not to amend an individual’s record in accordance with his or her request, or fails to make such review in conformity; or fails to maintain any record concerning any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is necessary to opportunities of or benefits to the individual that may be made on the basis of such record, and consequently a determination is made which is adverse to the individual; fails to comply with any other provision of this section, or any rule promulgated there under, in such a way as to have an adverse effect on an individual, the individual may ring a civil action against the agency, and the district courts of the United States shall have Jurisdiction in the matters under the provisions of this section (September 26, 2003). Rhea court may order the agency to amend the individual’s record in accordance Math his request or in such other way as the court may direct. In such a case the court shall determine the matter De novo.

The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this paragraph in which the complainant has substantially prevailed (September 26, 003). The court may enjoin the agency from withholding the records and order the production to the complainant of any agency records improperly withheld from him September 26, 2003. ) In such a case the court shall determine the matter De novo, and may examine the contents of any agency records in camera to determine whether the records or any portion thereof may be withheld under any of the exemptions set forth in this section and the burden are on the agency to sustain its action (September 26, litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this paragraph in which the implant has substantially prevailed (September 26, 2003).

In any suit brought the provisions of this section in which the court determines that the agency acted in manner, which was intentional or willful, the United States shall be liable to the individual in an amount equal to the sum of actual damages sustained by the individual as result of the refusal or failure, but in no case shall a person entitled to recovery receive less than the sum of $1,000; and the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court (September 26, 2003). An individual’s name and address may not be sold or rented by an agency unless such action is specifically authorized by law (September 26, 203).

This provision shall not be construed to require the withholding of names and addresses otherwise permitted to be made public. Matching agreements, no record, which is contained in a system records, may be disclosed to a recipient agency or non-federal agency for use in a computer-matching program except pursuant to a written agreement between the sources agency and the recipient agency or non-federal agency specifying (September 26, Having this section in the privacy handbook takes some ethical considerations because providing key rules and regulations in protecting someone’s personal moreover, the amount of identity theft it is crucial to protect personal information.

Having trust and security is an ethical consideration for the fact that someone will feel protected by the laws and the company. Corporations are faced with challenges everyday on how to protect their employees. By implementing and using the employee handbook privacy, section this help to keep these companies records safe and secure for the employees. Technology made it too easy for hackers to access information so by regulating how the information is kept will help to ensure the safety of the employee’s information. What this paper covered is the issue of privacy in the global workplace and gave suggestions on what privacy rights issues should be addressed, as well as what the company’s position should be in response to its privacy rights.

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