Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace.
Is there truly such a thing as privacy in the workplace? In today’s society it is possible for companies to monitor every aspect of what employees do in the office environment, from email, surfing the Internet to phone conversations. Federal and state laws specifically address an employer's right and ability to monitor, save, record, access, or otherwise conduct surveillance of employees' use of company electronic communication resources and systems. Generally speaking, if an employer complies with the notice and consent requirements under these laws, and writes and distributes policies consistent with the ...view middle of the document...
Even the United States government has limited the extent of what, when and where the social security number can be used. Companies must also inform its employees when there has been a breach in security and knowledge of personnel information has been compromised.
There are also laws against monitoring and eavesdropping. These laws prohibit the tapping into or listening to telephone conversations, voicemail systems, and electronic communications systems. In some states there are civil and criminal statutes that require both parties to a telephone conversation to consent to being recorded or listened to, while other states require that only one party consent. In today’s society participates in telephone conversations must be made aware that they are being recorded before this actually happens. Surveillance by camera is also subject to various legal requirements regarding notice and disclosure to employees.
Medical Records is another area where an employee still has a right to privacy. Medical information for an individual cannot be disclosed by the Doctors or an employer. Any medical information about an employee must be kept separate from other employee records and access to it severely restricted. There are other areas that an employee still has a right to privacy.
In the office workplace there are typically two types of workspaces, an open area, in which there are several desks and where conversations can be overhead, or an enclosed office, in which—when the door is closed—conversations cannot be heard and where one would expect virtually total privacy. Explain whether it makes a difference if an employee is in an open area or in an enclosed office.
Since the introduction of the cubicle, there has been a consistent debate over its benefits. Open-plan offices have been found to have both positive effects (e.g., increased employee communication and interaction, flexibility, ability to house more employees, reduced set-up and renovation times) and negative effects (e.g., increased noise, distractions, perceived crowding, and decreased privacy) (Brennan, et. al., 2002; Maher and von Hippel, 2005). According to research completed by Knoll on Open or closed workspace, the type of job will help to dictate whether or not an employee prefers an open or closed workspace. In high technology jobs it was determined that workers preference for open or enclosed work environments was based on work style and the type of work the individual performs. Computer programmers, who tend to be more social and collaborative at work, preferred open plan workstations with “seated height privacy”, while software developers and engineers, whose work tends to, require higher levels of concentration and freedom from distraction, preferred a private office with a door.
In an open office space, most appreciate the sense of community that an open work environment can support. It also allows for better communication and exchange of information among...