Work Place Privacy….An excerpt from a recent class discussion I had to comment on and the follow up to an online article.

This is a very touchy subject for me because of what I deemed past abuses by former employers. I have worked in an industry that records and monitors every aspect of your daily routine right down to how long you were on a bathroom break. There is monitoring and then there is micro-monitoring and none of it is good in my unhumble opinion because it creates a general air of distrust between management and employees. If the monitoring were truly done to protect business interest, I would not take issue with it at all. Employees should be forewarned they will be monitored because even though we are supposed to be adults capable of being responsible in our duties, you occasionally come across the one or two people who never left high school and can’t seem to get their acts together. However, that shouldn’t cause the rest of us to be punished for the sins of those one or two. I learned early on that I should not have ANY expectations of privacy at work because it just doesn’t exist. It has been my experience that monitoring often turns into personal vendettas against employees. If the person isn’t selling or releasing company secrets or bad mouthing the company, then whatever else is said or done should be of no consequence to the employer. Of course you don’t want an employee looking at porn on the job but the company computer system should have things in place to combat such activity. It has been my experience the monitoring, privacy, and Internet policies in place truly benefit the employer and not the employee and allow for abuses tantamount to a dictatorial regime. For example, our calls were supposedly monitored for quality assurance and to protect us against unwanted abuse from the clients. However, when a problem would arise, the calls were suddenly unavailable and the customer’s complaints, however unfounded, trumped any defense we might have had because the calls couldn’t be listened to. This occurred quite often when certain management members were on duty. If the policies were applied and enforced fairly across the board and not used to target individuals for reason not business related, then I would have no issue with monitoring in the work place.

Pt. 2

Social Network Passwords and Emails…. Perhaps you have heard of the case: a town tried to require new employees to turn over their passwords to social networking sites(Although they did back down).

Do you think this is also appropriate?  Or does this go too far?

Considering how much of a “nanny ” society we have become, it is not surprising some little one-horse town attempted such an invasion. Requiring a person applying for a job to turn over passwords to personal social networking sites or email, as part of a general background check is overstepping and NEVER appropriate. In my unhumble opinion I feel it is a way to discriminate against someone. This type of request can be used to destroy someone’s life if the information gets leaked to someone who may have a vendetta. If someone meets the educational and criminal background requirements, their moral character should not be a factor. Until that moral character has been shown to be lacking, which you would find out through a NORMAL criminal background check, no one should invade private, off-the-clock activities. The only other time this question should EVER come into play is if criminal activity is suspected AFTER employment has commenced.


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