In this era of globalization, employers may have valid reasons why they should be interested in monitoring their employers’ email and internet use at the workplace. In fact, today numerous firms across the planet have put policies to ensure that all employers monitor to use the internet and other related applications in order to improve productivity for maximum output since when the employees are engaging in internet and e-mails, they may tend to minimize the potential (Nash, 2009).
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For this reason, in this research paper, I will elaborate and discuss the concept of monitoring the use of the internet, email, and other privacy issues at work and the current laws regulating employee email and Internet privacy. Apart from this, I will also discuss why firms across the planet are implementing such policies in concern to internet and email use and finally, I will also discuss the various assumptions that employees make about their privacy at work.
Email use, Internet use, and privacy policies at my job
At my place of work, the set policies are clear that all employees are not to use internet and emails for other reasons apart from executing work duties; it is also very clear that internet and email system remains to be company’s property and therefore at all times all emails received must constitute to the company’s record (Nash, 2009). The management is very strict, and there are tough penalties put in place to whoever violates these rules.
Current laws regulating employee email and Internet privacy
Today, new laws and policies are being developed across the planet to serve the topic under discuss due to the wide-spread critics and complain by employees. However, as of the present, the laws allow all employers to have complete control of activities of their employees; hence according to the laws, it is quite clear that employers have the exclusive right to access and review the contents of emails and internet received since they generally own the business. Therefore, according to Walsh (2009), the managers can observe how their employees are using the email system at the place of work at any one’s time.
For this reason, most companies make all employees sign a consent form before employing them to indicate that these employees will adhere to the set rules and will only use the email and internet system at the workplace only for work-related issues (Nash, 2009). As such, the law argues that the employers are only relieved of such restrictions only when using the internet at home but not when they are accessing through employer’s server since, at this time, the limited access policies always apply.
Reasons why companies implement email and Internet use policies
Most firms have put adequate policies meant to ensure that the employers have limited access to the use of the internet; there are measures of monitoring the use of the internet, emails, and other related applications at the workplace. In most cases, managers may want to monitor the use of internet applications for numerous reasons. First, an employer may decide to monitor the use of the internet and email in order to increase or boost productivity at the workplace since when the workers have limited use to such applications, they obviously concentrate on the work.
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The second reason for such monitoring is to act as a precautionary measure, especially in preventing the broadcasting of confidential information that is essential to the company. Additionally, Walsh (2009) argues that the use of internet applications at the workplace may result in bigger problems, and such problems may include flirting and instances of sexual harassment, among others. For this reason, the employer would definitely want to avoid such scenarios since this would ruin the company’s reputation. On the other hand, the use of such internet applications at the workplace can also be injurious to the employers; in most cases, employees may intentionally or unintentionally download and yet distribute such website materials (Torren, 2003).
Such cases may be consequential to the employers because they may be liable for copyright violation, which is treated as intellectual theft. Finally, some employers argue that, through monitoring the use of internet and e-mails at the workplace, this serves as the most reliable means to evaluate and review employees’ performance records and therefore getting to know which employees are competent in maximizing output for the firm’s success.
Assumptions employees make about their privacy at work
Generally, most employees always believed that email at the workplace is a private matter. As such, most employees will always be convinced to use emails at the workplace for other reasons rather than those related to work. However, the employees are astonished to learn that the email system at the workplace is one of the company’s rights and property that is also protected by the law. In fact, all employers should have the knowledge that all internet applications such as emails remain to be company’s property and, therefore, at all times when at the job, employees should for all time expect to be monitored in regard to internet and email use at the workplace.
How these policies affect employee privacy at work
Because of employee’s expectations and assumptions, such privacy policies may have undesirable effects on the employees. One such way is that employees may at some point feel as if they are being deprived of their privacy, and hence they may also claim that this is a clear case of privacy infringement. Secondly, according to Walsh (2009), because of such feelings, the employees may not maximize their potential, and these may also reduce the company’s output.
Nash, (2009). Workplace Privacy: Proceedings NY 58th Annual Conference on Labor. Kluwer Law International. Web.
Torren, P. (2003). Intellectual property and computer crime. New York: Law Journal Press.
Walsh, D.J. (2009). Employment Law for Human Resource Practice. Stamford: Cengage Learning.