Should Companies Have The Right To Monitor Employees’ E-mails And Phone Conversations?
Employees watch out when using communication, whether e-mail or phone, at work, you never know who may be listening. Should companies have the right to monitor employees’ e-mails and phone conversation? Most studies believe that they, employers, do have the right to monitor the e-mail and phone conversations of their employees, as long as they are notified of the fact. There is a tremendous amount of literature on this issue but it all seems to lean towards the right of the employers. The most notable law enacted law that allows employee monitoring was in 1986. It was the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (it.ojp.gov). Although the actual service providers are not allowed to monitor communications it does allow employees to monitor communications. Most cases brought to court by employees have a tendency to be decided with the employer, reiterating the employer’s right to monitor communications. There was a federal bill in 1993 to 1995 that would have made it illegal for employers to monitor employee communication without first notifying them (privacyrights.org). But, it failed; it didn’t even have enough weight to come up for a vote. In the growing tide of worker sexual harassment cases via e-mail, and inappropriate subject matter being exchanged via e-mail, between employees, employers have more issues than ever that they need to protect themselves from litigation for. In a case involving the e-mail monitoring of an employee (Smith vs. Pillsbury Co.), the employee was actually dismissed, due to the fact that he sent an e-mail to another worker stating that “kill the backstabbing bastards” referring to members of sales (Perritt). E-mail and Internet monitoring of employees is stated to be increasing more every year. At the time that the law allowing it was enacted, 1986, approximately thirty-six percent of employees were monitoring e-mail and Internet of...
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