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Supporting viewpoint of employee privacy rights in the workplace - Essay Example

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There are many examples of privacy rights violations in the workplace. Electronic surveillance is widely used in Internet surfing and electronic mails (Burnette and Rickman, 2004; Twarog, 2005). Data are collected on employee's drug and alcohol use, sexual preferences, and medical history (Quann, 1992).
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Download file to see previous pages Moreover, the law tends to favor the employers in litigation, viewing the network and communication devices as the property of the employers (Burnette and Rickman, 2004; Twarog, 2005).
Also, employers need to collect data on employers to ensure that their potential and current employees are able to perform their jobs safely and honestly (Quann, 1992). Drug and alcohol abuses by employees would compromise safety and expose the employers to liabilities (Quann, 1992). Dishonest employees might use the company electronic mails for their personal and private use during office hours (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). This will reduce productivity (Burnette and Rickman, 2004).
On the other hand, employees too have their rights. Employers can only control them in work related areas. When employers cross the line, they risk infringing employee privacy rights (Quann, 1992). The law favors the employees in such cases. For example, a railroad was slapped with $485,000 in damages for terminating a computer operator on grounds of her refusing to undergo a random drug test (Quann, 1992). The court ruled that the job of a computer operator is "not safety related" and therefore not a business necessity (Quann, 1992). Aside from facing potential costs in damages, employee productivity will also drop if they feel that their dignity have been violated (Burnette and Rickman, 2004).
Also, the case for monitoring employees' use of electronic resources is productivity. On the contrary, some scholars claim that monitoring the use of electronic resources by employees is counterproductive (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). The protection of employee privacy rights by allowing them to surf the Internet occasionally without monitoring them can increase employee morale, productivity, and loyalty (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). On the contrary, studies have shown that morale and productivity drop when employers monitor employees' use of electronic resources (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). The drop in morale and productivity is heightened in times of emergency (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). Worse still, the stress of knowing that Internet and electronic mails usage are monitored might lead to higher turnover (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). A high turnover of employees could increase costs in finding replacements for the resigning employees, training the new employees, and decreased productivity while the new employees pick up the job (Burnette and Rickman, 2004).
Also, the protection of employee privacy rights is important for multinational companies (Frauenheim, 2006). Although U.S. law is relatively silent on this subject, employee privacy rights are well governed by the law in other countries such as in Europe (Frauenheim, 2006). Regulations exist on the type of data employers can gather about their employees, the rights employees have with regards to the data, and the transfer of the data to other parts of the world (Frauenheim, 2006).
Moreover, performance evaluation and appraisal might not reflect the true value of the employees to the organization when monitoring employees (Burnette and Rickman, 2004). Surely, inaccurate performance evaluation does not lead to business success.
Furthermore, a breach of employee information could be damaging to an organization's reputation (Frauenheim, 2006), which is at odds with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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