Employee's Privacy Rights in the Workplace

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Date Submitted: 09/25/2012 06:45 PM

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Do Employees Really Have the Right to Privacy in the Workplace?


GB520: Strategic Human Resource Management




Privacy is the freedom from intrusion. It is defined as the right to determine how one’s own personal information is revealed; it restricts the exposure of unknown information to others (Business Dictionary, 2011). However, in the workplace the freedom from intrusion can be an illusion to the employee, and it has the ability to affect the employee’s morale and work efforts. One’s personal privacy can be breached by anyone, and at any time. Employers need to take measures to ensure that their employees will not compromise corporate information. Technology has created pressure on companies to impose a clearly defined privacy policy that all employees will trust and adhere to with no worries. Privacy laws are becoming more confusing to define in a court of law, and many times they are handled on a case-by-case basis (Sympson, 2011). Companies are seeing the need for programs that will separate the employer’s and employee’s data when using the employee’s personal devices.


Employee privacy in the workplace is not a new issue, but an issue that is becoming more complicated to decipher. The lines between personal life and business life are becoming more blurred; especially in industries that are more closely regulated (Perrot, 2010). Employers have the right to protect their company from valuable information being compromised by employees. In addition, employers want to ensure that their employees are being productive and add value to the job. In recent years, technology has added a whole new set of issues that must be addressed and treated as fairly as possible by the employee and the employer. Employers have the right to monitor any information that is gathered on work time. However, do employees really have the right to privacy in the workplace?