Privacy in the Workplace

Does electronic monitoring violate workers' privacy?


Many offices have electronic eyes and ears that record what employees do and say. Most workers condemn the practice as a privacy violation and mark of management distrust. They also blame monitoring for causing various physical and emotional ills. Employers, on the other hand, say monitoring is a legitimate management tool that helps them maintain a safe and productive workplace. Some recent labor contracts lay down monitoring ground rules. However, legislation now before Congress would go further, sharply restricting electronic surveillance of employees without prior notice. Meanwhile, many workers remain subject to other types of workplace monitoring, including testing for AIDS, drug use and honesty. And future technological advances may bring still more monitoring.

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