Monitoring employees at workplace is a very crucial step to ensure the right use of their time and assets. However, this monitoring has some limits and employee’s privacy is protected under all circumstances. Monitoring could be done only on those things which are provided by the government or employer for conduction of their business. For example, use of computers, microphone, digital supplies and stationary use should be under check. Though, employees’ personal conversation on phone and mails through United States postal service should be kept confidential and private (Lectric Law Library).
However, with new emerging technology it is becoming very difficult to keep track of all communications via voice mail or email. Tracking voice mail and email are easier as these can be kept safe for long duration of time on the hardware under the control of employer. Emails can be read and heard without letting the employers know about it. With regards to employee’s privacy protection via electronic means, ECPA [Electronic communications Privacy Act] of 1986 protects electronic communication of employee by prohibiting reading of emails.
Employees can be monitored but interception into their private calls and private affairs without any valid reason is protected under state’s law (Shukmar, 2003). However, to maintain that the workplace should be safe from any kind of harassment, drugs and other inter-employee misconducts they’ve to be monitored at some level. All this monitoring at workplace is to be done without unreasonable interception into employee’s privacy. Employee’s monitoring at workplace by employers is done in good faith of conducting business legally and in safe environment.
The courts and federal law usually hold employers responsible for any kind of violence, harassment and drug use at workplace. Hence, employers tend to scrutinize and monitor their chatting on phone and email. At some of the workplaces, employers are using videotaping and surveillance cameras to keep an eye on regular workflow in their offices. Employee’s Privacy laws vary from state to state. For example, recording of private telephonic conversation of an employee is prohibited in Pennsylvania, while, calls regarding their business functions can be supervised (Shukmar, 2003).
Employee’s Privacy law hold that employee’s private information should be protected throughout his/her life. An employee has right over his personal information to be protected, while, any other information that employee exchanges with his/her coworkers or customers with regards to employer’s business can be monitored. Electronic Privacy Information Center holds that all private communication done via electronic means has to be protected (Employees Privacy Rights), • In telecommunication services, • Collection of personal data should be limited to where necessary, Employees at service will not disclose any kind of information without the consent of users, • All technical means will be used to protect privacy, • All network communications must be protected through defined security policies (Employees Privacy Rights). Employees are also subject to drug tests to ensure drug free environment at workplace. Excessive use of drugs and drugs abuse is prohibited, hence, its test is mandatory prior to job application at various institutes. Hence, Employee’s privacy act protects employee of unnecessary intrusions of their private affairs while at work.