Invasion of Employee Privacy by Employers

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Employee Privacy Paper
Tim McFarland
January 12, 2011

Employee Privacy Paper
The business world is rapidly changing with the introduction to new technologies and communication methods. Business corporations, both large and small, are adapting to the new norms of society and have started to apply the internet and email usage to everyday business activities. Within every business office one can find computers, internet, and other technologies that create a quicker, immediate means to communication and allow employees to perform their many tasks and duties associated with their jobs. In recent developments, businesses have begun implementing privacy policies on both employee internet and email usage at the office. Many believe that the invasion of privacy by employers is illegal, but to the contrary, many trials and court cases prove otherwise.

To begin with, businesses and corporations that have offered their employees internet and email usage within the office provide a necessary and more convenient way to perform their job duties. These amenities are a privilege to employees and must be respectfully and responsibly operated. According to a recent court case, Fraser v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 352 F. 3d 107 (3rd Cir. 2003), the privacy rights of employees using company internet servers for email are negated. As ruled in the court, employers have the right to monitor all emails and internet usage by employees to a reasonable extent. If an employee sends, receives, or stores an email within the employers system, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (Friedman & Reed, 2007)a. Companies may have guaranteed the privacy rights of employees emails, but guarantees are not considered law. In the Smyth v. Pillsbury Company case, a supervisor emailed an inappropriate email to their subordinate via to a home email account. After the subordinate opened the email at home, he or she continued to send the email throughout the office using the...
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