Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance
July 17, 2011
1. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace.
Employees are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy as their employers are
monitoring them electronically more than ever . The best way to ensure the privacy of personal
calls made at work is to use your own mobile phone or a local pay phone. Employers are very
interested in the loyalty, productivity, and privacy of the employees. Employers usually include
privacy policies in the employee handbook that outlines company guidelines when referring to
emails and electronic ...view middle of the document...
Some employers do violate the privacy of employees with hidden
cameras in areas such as restrooms or lockers. Also, if you have an office with a door you can
expect a certain amount of privacy within your office.
2. 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.
It would make a difference in an employee’s level of privacy having a desk in an open area where
an employee is unable to control the environment around them. They would be unable to prevent
people from walking up behind them and observing what they are doing in an open area.
Although privacy is expected in an office or open area, it is often not achieved. The position or
placement of an employee does place barriers for privacy. Enclosed areas offer employees an
adequate amount of privacy, where you can speak at a normal level and still maintain privacy. In
an open area, privacy has to be maintained based upon a light voice or a whisper, depending on
the noise level of the environment. Employees in an open area, anticipate privacy and courtesy
upon approaching their desk, just as one would exemplify when entering a room. In an open area,
there are no doors or walls that allow a person to knock and wait for invitation to enter, but it
does give more visibility to know when the employee is busy or free to be visited
3. Explain if Herman’s need to know whether his salespersons are honest is a sufficient ground for utilizing electronic surveillance.
Herman’s need to know whether his salespersons are honest is not sufficient to justify his means
of using electronic surveillance to monitor them. Herman could have talked with his salespersons
periodically, dictate important ways of handling sales transactions, and later have one-on-ones
with the employees. He also could have given refresher courses to keep employees up-to-date on
sales techniques which detail major sale pitches. Herman should have relied on his initial
assessments of employees when they were first hired. The use of electronic surveillance
operation by Herman violated the 1968 Federal Wiretap Law, which was amended by the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act 1986 (ECPA), stating that it illegal to capture
communication without authorization; designed to protect...