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Workplace Privacy Rights and the Employee Handbook

What privacy right issues should be addressed?

What should the company's position be in response to privacy issues?

How will your privacy protections limit the company's liability?

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Interesting questions! Let's take a closer look.

RESPONSE: (Last updated April 22, 2009)

1. What privacy right issues should be addressed?

Privacy issues that should be addressed are:

· A requirement that employees keep certain business information confidential.
· It should also include information about releasing employee records and information, as well as who may retrieve and inspect the information. (From


Interesting, employee workplace privacy rights are virtually nonexistent in private-sector employment. That's because up to 92% of private-sector employers conduct some type of electronic surveillance on their employees, according to estimates. Most may do so even without the consent or knowledge of their employees.

For example, according to the often-cited "2007 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey" released in February 2008 by the American Management Association (AMA) and The ePolicy Institute, most of the employers surveyed indicated that they subjected their employees to electronic surveillance in some way, shape or form. For example:

* 73% monitored email messages
* 66% monitored Web surfing
* 48% monitored with video surveillance
* 45% monitored keystrokes and keyboard time
* 43% monitored computer files (

Using sophisticated software, hidden cameras, phone-tapping devices, "smart card" security badges and global-positioning technology, employers may electronically snoop employee:

* Computer keystrokes and files
* Internet, Web and email usage
* Locations, movements and activities
* Phone conversations and numbers dialed
* Job performance

Employers may spy on their employees in those ways and then some, because they have the right to protect their buildings, office equipment and such. Subsequently, security legally trumps ...

Solution Summary

Workplace issues of privacy rights are examined including the company's responsibility and obligations in response to privacy issues. It also looks at how privacy protections might limit the company's liability. Last updated on April 22, 2009.