Free Essay

The Rights and Ethics of Employees with Respect to Privacy at Work


Submitted By dachmar
Words 780
Pages 4
Dania Afif El-Achmar The Rights and Ethics of Employees with Respect to Privacy at Work Widespread use of electronic communications media such as e-mail and information resources such as the Internet has prompted many employers to engage in electronic surveillance of their employees. Employers are monitoring—and even recording—employees’ personal phone calls, e-mails, and workplace conversations. Video cameras are trained on employee parking lots, break areas, and other parts of the workplace. Today’s employers have the legal right to conduct search and seizure of employees’ personal property; monitor the employee’s telephone calls, workplace computer, Internet, fax use, and e-mail; perform employee drug testing; and conduct investigation and surveillance of employees. Electronic Surveillance The ethics of employee surveillance are problematic, because both the company and the employee have rights, and these rights can conflict. The employee owes the company a solid day’s work and protection of proprietary property and knowledge, but the employee can claim rights such as privacy, compensation for injury, freedom from harassment, and a living wage. Employees are often not aware of the fact that their e-mails are being read by their employers. Moreover, most employees are unaware of the extent to which their employers can and actually do monitor what they do. Studies indicated that worldwide, approximately 27 million employees workforce, are under continuous Internet or e-mail use surveillance at work, more than onefourth of the global online workforce consisting of employees that regularly use Internet and/or e-mail access at work. A concept that dramatically reduced employee rights was that of employment at will. Beyond Electronic Surveillance Admittedly, today’s workplace is widespread with electronic conveniences, many of which afford employers a means of monitoring their employees. Some companies where employees are not allowed to smoke, for example, insist that their employees stop smoking altogether, not even indulging when at home. Effects of Surveillance and Diminished Employee Rights The loss of privacy impacts employees at every level. Furthermore, organizations that set up systems to facilitate monitoring—even if they do not actually monitor their employees—breach the control and unrestricted access that employees have over their own information, and thus the employees’ privacy. There are, to be certain, certain legitimate reasons for monitoring employees. The ethics of employee surveillance and violation of privacy are compounded by employers’ demands. Companies that appreciate having employees that are willing to work long hours should be accommodating when those employees have to make personal arrangements over the phone or the Internet. It is unethical and unreasonable to expect employees to work overtime—especially if they are salaried employees—without allowing them to conduct brief personal business at work. It is also unethical for companies to expect employees to safeguard proprietary company information without providing equal protection for employees’ personal information. Why Violating Employee Rights Disadvantages Companies 1

Dania Afif El-Achmar Companies firmly well-established in a multitude of employee controls and monitoring practices may find it intimidating to consider allowing employees the autonomy to use electronic technologies without surveillance. Employees that are cognizant of employer monitoring may be unwilling to use the electronic systems available in the workplace anymore than is absolutely necessary. Expecting employees to use these tools to improve their work yet engaging in surveillance puts employees in an impossible situation. Conclusion While monitoring may ensure that employees do not waste company time playing computer games or surfing the Internet, it also corrupts normal employee interactions, creating a workplace where people are afraid to collaborate or conduct research electronically and where they lose the ability to solve problems together. Not only does such monitoring increase employee stress and create an untenable situation in which employees are expected to use electronic resources but subject to punitive action if they use them “inappropriately”—a valuation that is rarely backed up by definitive standards, the value of surveillance is overestimated by employers and its disadvantages overlooked. In the last analysis, where people must sacrifice their privacy in order to keep their jobs, they are not being treated fairly or ethically, and their employers are giving up the best that employees have to offer—their creativity, enjoyment of their jobs, and positive workplace collaboration and interaction—to achieve an excessively controlled workplace where no one is happy and creativity is dead. Instead of unbounded surveillance, companies are better advised to choose their employees carefully and monitor them just enough to cover company assets and employee security, while still promoting a fertile environment where friendship, collaborative problemsolving, and innovation are key. Privacy is a basic human right, and ethics demands that it be honored and promoted in the workplace.


Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Verizon Ethics

...Verizon Ethics Privacy Policy Tyler Moore IFSM 304 Professor Dr Fundaburk 10/6/2013 Verizon Ethics Policy 1. Overview The purpose for this ethics policy is to establish ground rules for maintaining ethic standards when it comes to privacy. Each person is responsible for his/her influence in other people’s privacy. All employees should familiarize themselves with the ethics guidelines that follow this introduction. Verizon is determined to protect the privacy and confidentiality of its customers, employees, and partners. By Verizon taking a stand to safeguard ethical rights, it will better help grow and mature business. Verizon will not tolerate anyone who violates this policy, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally. Verizon will punish those involved if the ethical code is broken. Any infractions of this code of ethics will not be tolerated. 2. Purpose The purpose of publishing this policy is to see that the ethical rights of each person are maintained, specifically confidentiality, equality, and respect for people. 3. Scope This policy applies to customers, employees, contractors, consultants, temporaries, and partners of Verizon, including all personnel affiliated with third parties. 4. Policy 5.1. Executive Commitment to Ethics 5.2.1. The leaders at Verizon must set the best example possible for its employees. 5.2.2. Executives must keep an open mind and encourage employees to suggest new...

Words: 1120 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Ethical Issues on Confidentiality and Privacy of Patients

...issues on confidentiality and privacy of patients According to American nursing association article regarding patients medical information’s privacy and confidentiality shows us “Advances in technology, including Computerized Medical Databases, The Internet and Tele-Health, have opened the door to potential, unintentional breaches of private /confidential information of patients, so nurses and other health professionals who regularly work with patients and their confidential medical records should contribute the development of standards ,policies and laws that protect patient privacy and confidentiality of health records .” Due to the fast advancement of technology, it is very hard to protect our privacy in the areas of medical sectors. Many people have access to patient’s medical records including the attending physician, house staff, student, consultant, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, billing staffs and insurance company employees. Although computerized medical records have vital roles to improve the access to medical information efficiently, they allow more serious breaches of confidentiality. For example, confidentiality can be violated at any computer station, and fax and e-mail also present opportunities for confidentiality to be broken. I think in my opinion, keeping medical information confidentially shows respect for patents that except physician to maintain confidentiality, and it plays a vital role in improving employees ethics at work. Furthermore, maintaining...

Words: 610 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Leg 500 Assignment 1

...Assignment # 1- Electronic Surveillance of Employees Ww gg Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance Professor Lynette Collins April 19, 2011 Electronic Surveillance of Employees 1. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace. Privacy has become extremely important part of American culture. Lately, work place privacy has brought unwanted and costly litigations. To protect the company from those kinds of litigations, organizations are monitoring employee communications carefully. Although according to courts the private organizations have rights to monitor employee communications. In order to this `` Employee surveillance and email monitoring in the workplace present a number of sometimes conflicting issues regarding an employer’s need to protect its property and itself against liability and an employee’s right to privacy``(Adams, Scheuing & Feeley, 2000). Martin and Freeman (2003) also examined key arguments for and against employee monitoring, productivity, security, liability, privacy, and creativity. Privacy may be invaded in four ways. The first is unreasonable intrusion upon a person’s seclusion. Appropriation occurs when the use of a person’s name or likeness is used for economic benefit. Third is public disclosure of private facts. Finally, false light Most cases concerning invasion of privacy by employers involve intrusion upon seclusion’s is publicly characterizing or placing a person in a false light (Chieh and...

Words: 885 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Accenture Eytics

...Code of Business Ethics: Our core values in action Our Code of Business Ethics reinforces our core values and drives our culture of compliance, ethical decision making and accountability. Our core values shape the culture and define the character of our company. They guide how we behave and make decisions. Contents 5 6 Our Code at a Glance Stewardship To navigate, use the links provided in these sections: Contents (page 2); Our Code at a Glance (page 5); and the Index of Key Terms (page 42); as well as the Accenture policies listed throughout the document and the links at the bottom of each page. To zoom in and out, use the magnifier and back buttons. 10 Best People 14 Client Value Creation 18 One Global Network 24 Respect for the Individual 28 Integrity 36 A Model for Making Ethical Decisions 40 Our Responsibilities 41 Where to Go for Help 42 Index of Key Terms This file is in A4 format. The print feature on the navigation bar sets to your print settings. For further information, access our Policies Website. 2 | Accenture Code of Business Ethics Print Questions ? To All Accenture People: For more than 50 years, our success has been based on a core set of beliefs, behaviors and values that have transcended both generations and geographies. From our earliest days as technology pioneers to our position today as a Fortune Global 500 industry leader—collaborating with our clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments—Accenture’s men...

Words: 15075 - Pages: 61

Premium Essay

Ethics Program Report

...Week 9 Final Project Ethics Program Report Patton Fuller Community Hospital Ethics Program Report Within Patton Fuller Community Hospital (PFCH) it has been brought to my attention there are moral and ethical issues we are facing. These issues are; * Unauthorized disclosure of patient information * Data security breach * Medication doses error Since the hospital main focus is the patients as it is states in their mission statement, that they cares about the patients and not the bill, so any medical error can have a great effect on the hospital reputation. These medical errors that been brought to my attention can bring medical law suits to the hospital and their staff. I was hired as the ethics advisor to design a new ethics program for the company that will best exemplify and maintain our business ethics. Within this plan we will go over the hospital policies and procedures, the code of ethics and training on ethics. We will discuss expectations for the employees and the consequences for non-compliance. The purpose and goal for this plan is detect and prevent any violations and or regulation of the law, either non criminal or criminal of this organization of the hospital. This program will apply to the following: * Physicians * Professional staff * Administrative staff * Students * Volunteers * Exempt staff * Non exempt staff Patton Fuller community hospital will ensure all employees will have total access to the protocol that...

Words: 2035 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay


...Ethical Code and CSR activities: DEFINITION of 'Code of Ethics' A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principles based on the organization's core values and the standards to which the professional will be held. A guide of principles designed to help professionals conduct business honestly and with integrity. A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principles based on the organization's core values and the standards to which the professional will be held. Corporate social responsibility Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. “By Mallen Baker” One of the most frequently asked questions at this site - and probably for all those individuals and organizations dealing with CSR issues is the obvious - just what does 'Corporate Social Responsibility' mean anyway? Is it a stalking horse for an anti-corporate agenda? Something which, like original sin, you can never escape? Or what? Different organizations have framed different definitions - although there is considerable common ground between them. My own definition is that CSR is about how companies manage the business processes to produce...

Words: 3955 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

Computer Ethics

...Computer Ethics-NDex Danielle E. Maire-Jackson IS535ON: Managerial Applications of Information Technology 12-5-10 Professor McElyea TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Definition of Computer Ethics 3 II. Background of NDex 4 III. Discussion of Business Issues 5 IV. Proposed Solution 6 V. Recommendations for the Executive Committee 8 VI. References 11 I. DEFINITION OF COMPUTER ETHICS “Ethics is a set of moral principles that govern the behavior of a group or individual. Therefore, computer ethics is set of moral principles that regulate the use of computers. Some common issues of computer ethics include intellectual property rights (such as copyrighted electronic content), privacy concerns, and how computers affect society”. (Brotman, 2001). Ethics vary from one individual to another. Laws are written rules that govern. Ethics and information services have become very important. Computer ethics are key in today's modernized world. Social rights and the computer. This is really saying or giving you rights. For example, right to privacy. This allows your personal information to be kept just what it is, personal. Right to computer access, right to computer skills, etc. (Gorniak-Kocikowska, 1996). Code of ethics states what conduct is allowed and what is not allowed. There must always be a plan on how to maintain ethical practices in the business world. Many times people have valuable information to be stored into computer systems and therefore we...

Words: 2376 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay


...there is always be a rule or ethics, you must follow that to work in a peaceful way. You have the natural and the individual rights, but you can use it in other way in a workplace. Your right cannot be all execute in a workplace because there is ethics, which unite and bring both of you into successful and enthusiastic work in a workplace; for example, you have the right to eat and no one can remove it from you yet in a workplace you can eat but in exact time which is what we called the “Break Time”. Each individual have their own ethics yet as workers you have to follow the rule where you are working to avoid mislead and incompliance. Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think. Every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. Workplace is not only an economic system, but also, and most importantly, a social system. II. Definition of Terms Workplace – the place where one performs work or exerts effort. Work – is an activity that is necessary for our physical survival and wellbeing. Work is essential in providing us our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Ethics – a system of moral principles...

Words: 1473 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Chapter Summaries

...CHAPTER SUMMARY – CHAPTER 1 – ETHICS IN THE WORLD OF BUSINESS Frequently, the ethically correct course of action is clear, and people in business act accordingly. Exceptions occur when there is uncertainty about ethical obligations in particular situations or when considerations of ethics come into conflict with the practical demands of business. In deciding on an ethical course of action, we can rely to some extent on the rules of right conduct that we employ in everyday life. However, business activity also has some features that might limit the applicability of our ordinary ethical views. One distinguishing feature of business is its economic character which can be summarized as the conduct of buyers and seller and employers and employees. A second distinguishing feature of business is that it typically takes place in organizations which is a hierarchical system of functionally defined positions designed to achieve some goal or set of goals. Because business involves economic relations and transactions that take place in markets and also in organizations, it raises ethical issues for which the ethics of everyday life has not prepared us. Decisions making occurs on several distinct levels: the level of the individual, the organization, and the business system. The level of the individual represents situations that confront them in the workplace and require them to make a decision about their own well-being. The level of the organization can be identified...

Words: 8804 - Pages: 36

Premium Essay

Electronic Surveillance

...“Electronic Surveillance of Employees” Katy Romero Law, Ethics and Corporate Governance Dr. Andrea N. Brvenik Strayer University July 17, 2011 Electronic Surveillance of Employees An employer has the right to monitor the employees to increase the productivity and efficiency of its business. In the other hand, every person has the right of privacy within the organization. Human beings must experience a degree of privacy to thrive. Electronic surveillance is increasing every year within the organizations worldwide. This practice has created a debate among employees and employers. 1. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in a workplace Employees are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy as their employers are monitoring them electronically more closely than ever before. Still employees expect to have privacy at the lunch area, bathrooms and lockers. Besides those places the employee has little or almost no privacy within the company. Electronic monitoring allows an employer to observe what employees do on the job and review employee communications, including e-mail and Internet activity, often capturing and reviewing communications that employees consider private. Now days, video monitoring is commonplace in many work environments to maintain security, monitor employees, and to deter theft. 2. In the workplace, there are typically two spaces, an open area in which there are several desks and where conversations can be...

Words: 1139 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Australian Computer Society (ACS) that helps in building professional development and support to helping and developing a better and modern future. 2. What are the objectives of the A.C.S.? The objectives of ACS are on providing national focus to IT artificial intelligence and to promote more-n-more use of these in the industry, business, and government sectors so also equally raise a public level of informed comment on the intelligence to the issues. It is also to maintained and promote the ACS code of ethics, and extend the knowledge of intelligence and explain the benefits of being an ACS member. 3. What is the A.C.S. Code of Ethics? The ACS by the code of ethics requires its member’s to follow certain rules and guideline that are a set of values and ideals that uphold the honors, dignity, and its effectiveness of the information Technology . 4. What is its relevance to the I.T. Manager? The IT Manager’s need to be loyal to the company they work for, and also look into the various interest of their staff and the interest of the well being of their company clients and decisions needs to be taken by the manager according to that. He also needs to look into the conflicting issues as in there are circumstances where the company might not be in profit with some points of the client or vise versa, in such situations he needs to be able to look into a mutual profitability in a more professional way to overcome the ethical questions. 5. What are the values...

Words: 2717 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Creating an Ethical Organization name] | Creating an Ethical Organization | | Business Ethics | Saurabh | How to Create an Ethical Workplace? Ethics in the workplace are vital, even to small business owners. No company wants to be known as unethical, and employees are more apt to display higher morale and more productivity when they know they are working for a morally sound company. It is important to create a conscientious workplace that is transparent, both to employees as well as the general public. Small business owners should never tolerate inappropriate behavior in an employee and employees should be properly trained on what is considered unethical and ethical. * Set an example for your workforce. In order for employees to behave in an ethical manner, they need to know that they are working for a moral boss. They will be much less likely to display signs of unethical behavior if they know that this type of behavior will not be tolerated or ignored. * Create a policy dealing with ethics. This company policy should state your expectations for your employees as well as outline what is and is not considered acceptable. Having a clearly written policy will help you take action should an employee act unethically. * Allow employees to report unethical behavior in a safe environment. No one enjoys ratting out a fellow employee, particularly if it will be made known who turned the person in. Give your employees a safe and anonymous way to air their complaints so that you can...

Words: 3158 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Ethics Report

...1 ACCT2162 Ethics and Accountability COCA COLA and PEPSI Student name: Pham Thuy Vy Vy Ta lam Han Tieu Thien Tam Assignment: Ethics and Accountability ACCT2162 1|Page 2 ACCT2162 Ethics and Accountability RMIT International University Vietnam Bachelor of Commerce Program ASSIGNMENT COVER PAGE Your assessment will not be accepted unless all fields below are completed Subject Code: ACCT2162 Subject Name: Ethics and accountability Location where you study: RMIT Vietnam- SGS campus Title of Assignment: Group assignment File(s) Submitted: Cocacola_Pepsi Pham Thuy Vy Vy Student name: Tieu Thien Tam Ta Lam Han Student Number: S3325175 S3324340 S3275812 Learning Facilitator in charge: Samia Ibrahimo Assignment due date: 18th April 2013 18th April 2013 Date of Submission: Number of pages including this one: (Please number your pages like this: 13 page 1 of 7, etc.) 2200 words (exclude references, table of content and Word Count: reference) (Main Content) 2|Page 3 ACCT2162 Ethics and Accountability Contents INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................... 4 COMPARE AND CONTRAST POLICIES, PROCESSES AND GUIDELINES ......................................................... 5 a) Health and Safe Work Environment: .....................................................................

Words: 3086 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

The Human Element “Ethics” in Business Research Management

...The Human Element “Ethics” in Business Research Management Kanak Tara*, Archana Yadav** and Ritesh Kumar*** *JRF, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad **M. Ed., Xt. Xavier College, Patna; ***Scientist, Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research, Dhanbad ABSTRACT India, like some of the other developed and developing countries in the world, is greatly facing problem of ethics in business research and its management. The large amount of new wealth creates incentive to cut corners to get rich. The pressure to succeed at all costs has created a ‘cheating culture’ that threatens to undermine academia as well as the social and economic fabric of society. However, good business ethics help a society as a whole, and some say that good ethics can be a source of competitive advantage for an organization. Steps can be taken to improve ethics in business research and its management at the societal level, at the individual level, and more importantly at the organizational and the governmental level. In addition to ethical leadership, we believe that one key to improving ethics at the organizational level is human resource management. Improvement can be made in the areas of recruitment, selection, performance appraisal, performance management, compensation and benefits. Personnel policies can help ensure ethical conduct within the organization. This paper outlines and discusses the ethics in general as well as in Business research. INTRODUCTION Today’s challenge to business leadership...

Words: 3058 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Ethical Theories in Information Technology

...Abstract This assignment will define and discuss the ethical theory of Kantianism. Kantian ethics is based on abiding by moral laws that are universal for everyone. It allows us to rationalize our decisions based on our duty to do what is right. This assignment will also discuss how Kantianism represents my personal principles. Kantianism provides moral laws that provide a sense of equality for all people. There are also several arguments that are against Kantianism and will dispute the theory. But the overall goal of Kantianism is to ensure that every person is treated with respect. In addition, this assignment will discuss and defend my position on a contemporary IT issue using a practical ethical theory. Unit 1 Assignment 1 Ethical Theory-Kantian The ethical theory that I have chosen that best represents my personal principles is Kantianism. This theory was named after the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. According to Quinn, “Kant believed that people’s actions ought to be guided by moral laws, and that these moral laws were universal” (Quinn, 2013, para. 2). The universal law is the belief that everyone tries to do the right thing and be a rational person and therefore rational decisions can be applied to everyone in the world. Kantianism does not consider the consequences of the ethical issues to be important, rather it is based on what should be done or doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Kant’s decision is based on the theory that nothing is...

Words: 1571 - Pages: 7