It has been brought to managers attention that a number of employees have been misusing the company’s internet access for personal use. Accessing personal email, visiting websites for private use, and in at least one incident, managers personally witnessed an employee accessing pornographic websites. Thus, unsurprisingly the issue of e-mail and internet monitoring has received a great deal of attention from the corporations, who have legitimate reasons for protecting their investment in high technology (Morgan, June 1, 2002). However, such monitoring has raised questions about employees’ privacy rights, indicated in section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
Since its adoption in 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom has explored, “The nature and scope of privacy protection” where individuals are highly protected against unreasonable search and seizure. As a result, judicial interpretation of section 8, suggests that employees can have a “reasonable expectation of privacy in their use of e-mail and internet” at work (Morgan, June 1, 2002). For instance, in the infamous case of R.v. Weir, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that Mr. Weir’s use of his personal e-mail held a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, section 32(1) of the Charter indicates that “the charter only applies to government action” (Morgan, June 1, 2002). Thus, the charter has no application in a dispute where private parties are involved. Such dilemma places both employers and employees of private companies at a disadvantaged position.
One of the main concerns is that, employees waste time “browsing”, rather than using the Internet professionally and efficiently. Social networking, viewing video, researching travel, reading blogs, visiting auction, game, sports or news sites “Among the various types of personal websites people visit most at work, news sites proved to be the most popular as 37% of respondents chose checking the news as their top...
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