Monitoring In The Workplace
Trident University International
Personal relationships between management and employees can always sometimes develop even when there is a policy against it. My wife’s company, whom I wish to keep anonymous, is one example of how personal relationships can sometimes conflict with decision to monitor employee behavior at work. This example illustrates how using a utilitarian and deontological reasoning can lead to different solutions.
Monitoring In The Workplace
My wife currently works for a talent management company as a booking agent. The employees of the company regularly socialize outside of work and most have a very good ...view middle of the document...
“Under Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employers are prohibited from giving even the impression of surveillance of employees' union activity” (Porter II, Griffaton, pg 65). Although no current federal or state statute currently prohibits employers from monitoring their electronic workplace, the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and similar state laws provide some limitations (Porter II, Griffaton, pg 65). The federal act prohibits the interception of electronic communications such as e-mail. “It defines "interception" to mean the "contemporaneous acquisition of the communication," so an interception takes place only when an individual sends an e-mail and a third party is able to obtain a copy of the transmission at the time it is sent” (Porter II, Griffaton, pg 65). The act provides employees little protection from the monitoring of their workplace electronic communications, because it does not apply to e-mails in their "stored" state (Porter II, Griffaton, pg 65). This means that my wife’s boss can freely obtain copies of e-mails from the network computer or from her hard drive without violating the act (Porter II, Griffaton, pg 65). Email’s sent from the employees are even automatically courtesy copied to management. However, even when the employer intercepts electronic communications, monitoring is permitted when done in the "ordinary course of business" or when the employee has "consented" to it (Porter II, Griffaton, pg 65). The privacy issue at my wife’s company can probably be argued either way, but I want to focus on whether monitoring employee’s email and chat is beneficial to the company.
My wife’s boss places personal relationships with her employees in high regard. She sees the personal relationship with her employees as beneficial to the company as a whole. From a utilitarian perspective, the goal of the boss’s privacy decisions should be made in a way that benefits the company. Some of my wife’s coworkers felt that their trust had been violated when they found out that management had viewed their personal chat and non-work related emails. This has led to some trust issues with the owner,...