Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace

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Title: Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace

OMM 640: Ethics and Social Responsibility

Instructor: David Bouvin

Debbie Barrow

May 07, 2012

Do you feel like your workplace is your safe haven? Is your privacy invaded in your workplace? Can employers read your e-mail; monitor your blog or social network post. Employees peeping over your shoulder (sneakily), or even putting up a surveillance camera, as an employee, we should not have to be fall a victim to such behavior. We all know that most information is not kept in the workplace. A workplace search can be very upsetting, infringing on an employee's expectation of privacy in the workplace. On the job, we tend to view our desks, lockers, computer files, office, tool boxes and work bench as our private space at work. It is understandable that while at work, we are on the employees’ time and that this time is very valuable.

From my point of view, it is easy to see how someone could easily invade the workplace of another employee, but should what he or she finds out, leave the workplace. These are the kind of things that are happening at my workplace due to a RIFF-Reduction in Force. People seem to feel the need to spy on the employees.

Our school district is now undergoing its second riff. We have lost a great deal of employees and things are totally different for the employees who are still employed in the district. It is so sad to say, but there is not a safe place or person to vent. Everything that is said or heard is always used in a negative way.

It is really sad that people feel the need to spy on other employees for the sake of trying to hold on to a job that might be taken away from them by force not by choice. Some of our employees had even gone as far as to keep their cell phones on to record conversations with other employees. Why would an individual risk the chance of being called a “whistle blower?” just to get special privileges from the higher management? (Boatright, 2010). The right of privacy is limited to people who are in a place that a person would reasonably expect to be private such as home, hotel room and even a telephone booth. People think they should be protected by privacy when the conversation is private and should not be heard by others, and the same with going through a person’s things (Givens, 2001).

Today’s technology gives the media powerful new tools for intrusion into private lives. Cameras are smaller and easier to hide. Conversations are easily recorded surreptitiously. Computers and the Internet provide the ability to rummage through the closets of your life in ways that have never before been possible.

I strongly feel that when I am at work, I need to feel safe and know that my fellow co-workers are trustworthy, especially when I feel the need to vent about something or someone. I feel that privacy is the thought that information that is confidential that is disclosed in a private place will not be available to third parties when the information would cause embarrassment or emotional distress to a person.

Employers and their employees often have very different views when it comes to the subject of privacy in a workplace (Brey, 2005). Employers often believe that anything that goes on in the office is subject to review and scrutiny by the employer. Employees, on the other hand, usually have certain expectations of privacy when they are at work. They sometimes believe that the websites that they visit (either during work time or on breaks), their e-mails, or the contents within their desks should be off limits to the employer's eyes. If they are taking a break, they should be permitted to say or do anything, in the privacy of their own workspace, without constant monitoring of the employer's watchful eye.

Opinions also differ concerning off-duty activities of employees. Some employers believe that what employees do, even on their own time,...
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