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Computer and Telephone Monitoring, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 450

Essay

In today’s world of technology and Internet access, many companies are monitoring employee computer and telephone usage in the workplace. Employers want to be sure that employees are being productive and not wasting company time and resources. However, employees may feel that their privacy rights are violated by workplace monitoring. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (2012), due to new technologies, it is possible for employers to monitor workplace communications such as phone conversations, computer terminal and Internet usage, email and voice mail, and it is legal for employers to do this.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (2012) reports that a survey done by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute “found that two-thirds of employers monitor their employees’ web site visits in order to prevent inappropriate surfing. And 65% use software to block connections to web sites deemed off limits for employees.” The main reason for this is to prevent employees from viewing sexual content, social networking sites, gaming sites, shopping sites or other entertainment sites on the Internet while at work. The survey findings also show that a significant number of employers monitor employee emails and phone calls, and a percentage of them have fired employees for inappropriate email or phone usage. Additionally, it is reported that many employers monitor social networking sites to see what employees are saying about the company.

The question often arises about whether or not it is legal for employers to eavesdrop on employees or access their private communications in the workplace, and this issue is not just a problem in the United States. In Australia, the Workplace Privacy Act of 2011 is in place “to regulate the collection and use of workplace surveillance information” on employees. The act stipulates that employers may only monitor employees if they first give written notice to the employees (Workplace Privacy Act, 2011). Knowing the employee privacy policies of other countries is important because so many U.S. companies have global presences.

Finally, as it relates to whether or not employer computer and telephone monitoring of employees is legal, it appears that it is. Whether or not it is ethical is a different issue. Just because something is legal does not necessarily mean it is ethical. My workplace uses all of the above monitoring systems and this is clearly disclosed, in advance, to all employees. Personally, I feel that employers should be allowed to monitor the behaviors of their employees in the workplace, because I feel that employees should be there to do a job and not to waste company time and resources and still expect to be paid.

References

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. (2012). Fact Sheet 7: Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring. Retrieved from https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs7-work.htm

Workplace Privacy Act. (2011). Australian Capital Territory. Retrieved from http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2011-4/current/pdf/2011-4.pdf

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