One among the most common and frequent discussion on the market nowadays would be the right of an employee for privacy in the office. Especially it is the case in an age that comprises increased dependence on the E-mails and usage of computers to carry out duties. There are some advanced features of the latest technology that would offer complete control and monitoring on virtual space in regards to the communication that is carried out by employees inside the office using office computers for internet, company e-mail and network. While some employees find this behavior of monitoring to be violation of privacy of each individual it is an accepted case under the law. Some of the employee activities like the private conversation and some physical spaces that are allocated in the company such as locked desk drawers would obtain higher privacy protections whereas certain activities such as drug use would lead to testing for the substance abuse. Hence here are some aspects to know about the right of privacy of employees in the office.
Voicemail messages and Phone calls
Employers make use of practices such as electronic surveillance that comprises monitoring the telephone conversation and voicemail message of employees. This is in order to know and keep the updates on their employees with respect to their business operations. In general, an employer can monitor all phone calls within their office within certain legal limits. The ECPA, electronics communications privacy Act would offer this liberty to employers within some limitations to monitor activities including phone calls and voicemail messages at work. According to this act, an employer is not able to monitor any personal phone calls that are made using telephones provided at an office and it is only approved to monitor the personal phone calls if an employee has the knowledge of it and consents to it. There is some good protection for voicemail messages of employees offered by ECPA. If there is a breach of this law, the employers would have to face legal issues in case they disclose, read, delete, or try to prevent any access to the voicemail messages of an employee.
Email and Internet usage:
The activities that are carried out by an employee using the computers offered by employers would be unprotected largely under personal privacy laws. The emails provided by company would be company property and there would be no protection from being monitored by employers. The employers would have all the right to monitor the mails used by employees if they have valid reasons to improve their business. There are certain applications and software that can check each and every email that are sent form company networks for productivity, illegal usage or any other type of issues. Normally emails would be used on frequent basis if the company to prove the wrongdoing or misconduct of an employee before termination.
Also the employers have the right to check and track the websites that are visited by their employees. Employers can block access to certain websites or can provide limitation of time so that employees can use them in a specific time frame.
All of these problems of time management even inspired software developers to come up with programs devoted specifically to employee monitoring. These lightweight programs are easy to install and manage that’s why they are quite popular amongst employers all over the world. Employers use them as control instrument to check how much work time is wasted and insure boost in productivity. Even though any employer can install any programs on computers that they own in many cases they are still required to notify workers that such program is installed.
Drug testing after hiring:
Employers can ask their employees to submit for drug screening. However, there are certain state laws that indicate the limit of circumstances for employers to test for drugs and also there are limitations to the methods in which the employers are allowed to do drug tests. Here are some criteria’s for drug testing on employees:
- Workers who have enrolled in any drug rehabilitation program or have completed any such programs
- Workers with positions that would carry a great deal of hazard to others and themselves
- Workers who are believed to be under drugs based on their behavior or physical evidence, slurred speech or glassy eyes
- Workers who are involved in accident that was work related and was suspected of drug usage
Privacy of employees in office and legal help towards it
There are certain clean and specific rights employees have for their privacy in workplace. Also these rights would be balanced in order to provide privileges to employers so that they can monitor their business operations. If you find that your employer has overstepped the boundary of privacy rights of employees of in case of any queries towards your privacy right of employees then you can contact the expert attorneys of employee rights to discuss the situation.