Employee Monitoring at Work

Topics: Privacy, Surveillance, Employment Pages: 9 (3147 words) Published: November 20, 2008
Employee monitoring at work


Evolution of employee monitoring
Why do employers monitor their employees?
Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring
Types of employee monitoring
▪ New way of monitoring
Successful implementation of the monitoring system
The Law
Monitoring shouldn’t go too far
My perspective

Evolution of employee monitoring
For many years, organizations have engaged in many practices in order to monitor their employees for the intention of control and compliance, employers also need to be sure that their staff are behaving properly because they are liable for the actions of their employees. Employee monitoring is the act of watching and monitoring employees’ actions during working hours using employer equipment/property. In the past, the practices of monitoring the employees during their jobs were done manually and required self-reporting for tracking the employees' productivity and performance, but with the developing of technology and the increased number of automated activity in the workplace, many of theses technologies were automated to enhance the tracking and monitoring capability in order to improve the employee's performance of the job. These advancements have generated practices and policies which leveraged the new electronic monitoring capabilities and led to the gathering of vast amounts of information about employees.

Monitoring the employees at work has created an ongoing fight between the employees and their employers; the main thing that they have fought about is computer and email monitoring. These tools provided the employers with many ways for capturing the employee's performance and conducting surveillance. As result of the continuous possibilities in monitoring, anxiety in employees increase, which in most cases leads to illnesses. Studies indicate that employees who are constantly being monitored at work suffer from inevitable effects, the majority being illnesses such as physical, emotional, and mental disorders

Why do employers monitor their employees?
Some of the main reasons by firms for using employee monitoring tools include legal compliance and liability, performance review, productivity management, and security concerns. Most employees have access to a variety of hi-tech tools such as email, the internet, mobile phones and PDAs to help them with their work. Employers need to be sure that these ways of working do not give rise to additional liabilities for example; some employers have found themselves liable for claims of sexual harassment, breaching the company's security, leaking the confidential business information or for employers to become the victim or perpetrator of fraud because of the irresponsible acts of their staff. Some companies monitor employees by tracking keystrokes, reviewing computer files, and reading e-mail and so to ensure they're staying loyal. Press leaks of confidential information and trade secrets are of reasonable concern to employers, and many will go too far to make sure that their employees aren't using company computers to pass on information to outside sources.

The employers always say "Your computer is not a PC but a BC which is a business computer". Therefore, they have a right to review how it's being used by his/her employee. Everybody still remembers the rude e-mail sent to a Norton Rose lawyer from his girlfriend, which was forwarded to six colleagues and ended up being distributed worldwide. Mobile phone network operator Orange fired 40 members of their staff for distribution of inappropriate material, stockbrokers Merrill Lynch dismissed 15 employees for sending offensive material on its system and in 2002 Hewlett Packard fired two and suspended a further 150 for viewing and sharing inappropriate material. All of these cases indicate the importance of monitoring the employees in order for the company to manage their employees' activities and identify any unappreciated...

References: Carroll, Wendy "Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace: A review and discussion about future trends"
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