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Surveillance in the Workplace A Violation of Human Rights - Essay Example

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The current advances in technology have brought about more modern and more high tech ways of monitoring employees in the workplace. Whereas monitoring employees before was confined to physical observation, it has now moved on to using electronic devices. There are different types of employee monitoring being implemented today. …
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Surveillance in the Workplace A Violation of Human Rights
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Surveillance in the Workplace – A Violation of Human Rights? The current advances in technology have broughtabout more modern and more high tech ways of monitoring employees in the workplace. Whereas monitoring employees before was confined to physical observation, it has now moved on to using electronic devices. There are different types of employee monitoring being implemented today. The first type used by companies is computer monitoring. “Computer-based monitoring is the use of computerized systems to automatically collect information about how an employee is performing his or her job" (George 459). For employees doing data entry, some corporations monitor their performance by installing a computer software which can check the keystroke speed and accuracy. Some software can monitor how much time an employee surfs the net and what sites they visit. There are companies which even monitor the emails of their employees without their knowledge.
Another type of employee monitoring system is the video surveillance. Turk explains that this type of surveillance is “used by employers for detecting employee misconduct (particularly theft), monitoring job performance and efficiency, and assuring conformance with safety procedures” (qtd. inMorgan , par 13). Most organizations today install closed -circuit television (CCTV) cameras in various parts of their offices. Outside the office, employees are monitored through the global positioning system (GPS).
A more common type of employee surveillance is the call monitoring. This is often done to check whether the employee handles telephone calls well. Employees however, must be informed even prior to hiring, that telephone calls are monitored.
Having all these types of surveillance available to companies, the question now lies on whether how far these companies should go in monitoring their employees and whether it is a violation of their human rights. This is a case of an employer’s right to know as against the employee’s right to privacy (McHardy, Giesbrecht and Brady 3). There are several reasons why employers feel that they are justified in monitoring their employees. Customer and employee safety is foremost in their minds (McHardy, et al 1). Another reason why companies monitor their employees is to safeguard trade secrets and other confidential information (McHardy, et al 2). Moreover, employers want to protect themselves from any legal liabilities and investigations that may arise from employee misconduct (McHardy, et al 2). Performance review is another justification of employers for monitoring.
According to Mujtaba, monitoring may be done as long as high ethical standards are observed. Furthermore, he explains that they must not intrude on the basic rights and moral standards of the individual. Employers must inform their employees that they are being monitored and explain to them the reason for such. The monitoring system should also be within the boundaries of the law. Companies must also realize that monitoring employees may have some negative implications. The employees may perceive it as not being trusted by their employers. An essential guideline that may be followed by employers with regards to employee monitoring is that the employer should balance his need for protection as against the employees’ desire for privacy (Thomas).
Works Cited
George, Joey F. "Computer-based monitoring: common perceptions and empirical results." Journal of Business Quarterly 20.4 (1996): 459.
McHardy, Christopher, Tina Giesbrecht and Peter Brady. Workplace monitoring and surveillance. 11 March 2005. Web. 12 November 2012 .
Morgan, Kristin. Type of employee-monitoring systems in the workplace. n.d. Web. 12 November 2012 .
Mujtaba, Bahaudin G. "Ethical implications of employee monitoring: What leaders should know." Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship (n.d.).
Thomas, Robin. "Issues to consider when implementing an employee monitoring program." 18 March 2005. TechRepublic Web site. Web. 12 November 2012 . Read More
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