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Privacy in the Workplace

[ad_1] In a generation that seems to thrive on voyeuristic pleasures, privacy has become a hotbed issue. We watch the very private lives of celebrities and “real” people unfold on television, we pour out our personal thoughts in private online diaries which can only be shared with a few million people, we videotape human foibles and post them on websites to share with the world. One would assume that the American society is as comfortable with a lack of privacy as the French are with nude bathing! Yet, every society has to draw the line somewhere. It seems that while we are comfortable sharing the private details of our lives for entertainment, we are not comfortable with having our workplace activities under a microscope.

The conflict over privacy rights has also extended to the workplace. It is understandable as work is where we spend the majority of our day and many think of it as a safe haven. We can accept being monitored for the sake of safety but are far more uncomfortable feeling that we work for “big brother.”

The American Management Association conducted a survey of employers in 2005. The survey found that three-fourths of employers monitor their employees’ web site visits in order to prevent inappropriate surfing, while 65% use software to block connections to web sites deemed off limits for employees. Approximately one third track keystrokes and time spent at the keyboard. Just over half of employers review and retain electronic mail messages.

Greater than 80% of employers disclose their monitoring practices to employees. The survey also found that most employers have established policies governing Internet use, including e-mail use (84%) and personal Internet use (81%).

Employers have grown skittish about what employees are doing in the workplace and with good reason. Beyond the employee performance aspect, employers face an ever widening legal minefield and ultimately can be held responsible for what their employees do, say and write in the workplace. …

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Sourced from by Richard A. Hall

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