Legal and Ethical Considerations of Employee Monitoring

Topics: Employment, Privacy, Internet Pages: 4 (1036 words) Published: July 1, 2013
In today’s electronic age, many employers are faced daunting task of making a legal call when determining if monitoring employee behavior is appropriate at all times. In essence, “Little Brother” is always watching. According to Schulman (2013), Little Brother represents the tremendous capabilities technology as provided for employers to keep track of what their work force is up to. Several programs are available that search e-mails, as well as software to block objectionable websites. The most brazen of manager and supervisors can simply go enter your hard drive and review one’s cookies and history, as well as access any employee’s company e-mail. As much as an employee deletes his/her history, or sends unwanted emails to the recycle bin, much of this information still exists on the company server, and many corporations are willing to pay computer consultants to unearth any desired information. When it comes to e-mails, a survey completed by the Society of Human Resource Management found that of the companies surveyed, over 36 percent searched employee messages. What is Employee Monitoring?

The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment defines computerized performance monitoring as “the computerized collection, storage, analysis, and reporting of information about employees’ productive activities” (Yerby, 2013; Peters, 2009). Unfortunately there is a muddied area when it comes to this matter because current laws state that monitoring is legal, however the question of whether this practice is effective or ethically sound is constantly raised. Some believe that when the focus begins to narrows to micromanaging employees, the firm cannot effectively run a competitive business, therefore employees accountability and transparency is pushed in many work environments, However many employers view this situation quite differently. Many employers feel that sensitive company information might be at risk from the abuse of the fairly new, yet constantly progressing...

References: Peters, T. A. (1999). Computerized Monitoring and Online Privacy. Jefferson, North
Carolina: McFarland & Company
Schulman, M (1996). Little Brother is Watching: Employer Monitoring. Retrieved on June 21, 2013 from
Yerby, J. (2013). Legal and Ethical Issues of Employee Monitoring. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, Volume 1, Issue 2.
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