Business Law Essay
What is the law and business or ethics and business issues, as a question. Explain how this issue related to both law and business or law and ethics. Should employers be permitted to monitor their employees while on the telephone or computer? This issue relates to both law and business. This question deals with employee privacy rights at the workplace and laws that govern electronic monitoring. Not only does employee monitoring involve employee privacy, but it also involves the employer business and national security concerns. Employee monitoring relates to the extent businesses can monitor their employees over the internet and telephone. Some laws that are concerned in this topic is the ECPA (Electronic communications privacy act of 1986), state statutes, and privacy for consumers and Workers Act of 1993. B- Why did you select this issue? Why is it significant to the legal/ethical environment of business? Why is it significant to you? I selected this issue because the topic of privacy rights intrigued me. I wanted to learn about the laws concerning with privacy issues.
I wanted to know more about employee monitoring and if employers were legally allowed to monitor their employees when their on the phone and internet, and
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While this is good for them, I feel kinda bad for the company they work for, because they are getting paid to use the company phone to make calls, and internet access for their pleasure. C-What steps did you follow to research this issue on the Internet? Which website did you visit? Be specific and include citations. The first step I took for this research paper is typing in ‘employee monitoring’ in the search engine in www.google.com. More than a million entries came up, so I decided to be more specific and typed in ‘pros and cons for employee monitoring’. A lot of results still showed up, however the entries that came back were more specific for this research paper.
I then went to www.yahoo.com to see if I can find some more articles that further explain more on privacy rights. The following link lead to articles that deal with privacy rights of employees (http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs7-work.htm, last visited on April 11, 2004). I found many articles that explained about the pros and cons of employee monitoring, however I felt that I needed to find a article that explained the areas that employers are subject to liability from their employees. The website http://grove.ufl.edu/~techlaw/4/Dixon.html#ENIV helped me understand why employee monitoring is essential to have. D- Which was the most helpful website and why? Include citation. I found that the site on Labor and Employment laws titled “The Bosses’ Eyes and Ears: The Privacy for Consumers and Workers Act” (http://www.abanet.org/genpractice/lawyer/spring97/detienne.html, last visited on April 11, 2004) to be the most helpful to me by explaining in a thorough manner all the pros and cons of employee monitoring. E- Evaluate the web sites you are using for pages two and three. Be specific in your evaluation of these web sites. Most of the web sites I found were pretty easy to read and understan.
Arguments Pro and Con Arguments in favor of Employee monitoring: 1. One of the most compelling reasons to monitor employee is productivity. The productivity issues are tied to the businesses money. Andrew Murray explains how a company with a thousand internet users could lose about $35 million in productivity annually from just an hour of employees surfing the web. (Http://www.networkmagazine.com/shared.article.showsArticle.jhtml?_aritlceId=8703003, last visited April 11, 2004). He also explains how corporations in the United States lose more than $54 billion a year due to internet use unrelated to work. Employers are looking for ways to get more out of their employees. And monitoring their internet use can prevent employers from straying away from their job duties to do other things such as websurf, or handle personal businesses that should not be done at work. Also to productivity, preserving bandwidth resources is helped from monitoring employees internet and telephone calls. 2. Corporations also turn to monitoring to protect themselves from legal liabilities. An article I found explains the areas as to where employers are subject to liability.
One common lawsuit is sexual harassment. Having employers monitor their employees can prevent emails that are sexual, prejudicial, hateful, and defamatory. Also, prevents viewing pornographic material at the workplace. Employers are liable for sexual harassment suits done by their employees. Lawsuits of hostile work environment can also be prevented if the employer monitors their employees preventing their employers to create a dis-satisfying and uncomfortable place to work. 3. Reduction of theft is also a positive factor that comes from employee monitoring. In a article by Detienne and Flint, it quotes that “studies estimate that over $40 billion in cash and merchandise is lost each year to employee theft.” This deals with employee monitoring because employers are also concerned with protecting intangible assets such as trade secrets. (Http://www.abanet.org/genpractice/lawyer/spring97/detienne.html, last visited on April 11, 2004). Arguments against employee monitoring: 1. Incredible amount of lack of privacy right for employees. The privacy of employees not only protects information but is also an integral part to our identity and autonomy.
Employers feel that their messages, emails and telephone calls are private. And that if they delete a message, that it is deleted and not still stored in the employers network monitoring system. An article written by Zimmerman explaining how employees and privacy right experts feel that “privacy is a guaranteed human right–at home and at work.” (Http://www.workforce.com/section/00/feature/23/16/50/index, last visited on April 11, 2004) 2. Decrease job satisfaction and increase stress is another reason against employee monitoring. Employees may feel that the company will use the monitoring system to gain evidence that can be used against them. Murray gives an example in his article how for example “if an employee is searching the Web for medical information on a illness, he or she might wonder if that will turn up in some secret HR file.” (Http://www.networkmagazine.com/shared/article/showArticle.jhtml?_articleId=8703003, last visited on April 11, 2004). Employees may be concerned that if management is monitoring employees over telephone and internet that they might also use other surveillance techniques such as cameras and microphones in the office.
This affects how employees feel about working for the employer. 3. Employee absenteeism is another con of employee monitoring. People taking off work for personal reasons are increasing. A website I found quotes how “unscheduled absenteeism can be estimated to cost small companies as much as $600,000 a year, while larger companies can add up to $3.6 million annually. (http://csf11.acs.uwosh.edu/cs350/stephani-gross/ethics.html, last visited on April 11, 2004). Employees are forced to take days off from work to take care of their personal businesses, such as stopping by a bank which takes 20 minutes in line, whereas they can go online and get it done in a few minutes at work. Page 3- My opinion Yes, I believe that employers should be permitted to monitor their employees on the internet and telephone at work, to a certain extent. As long as the employer tells the employee that they are being monitored, so that they know, then it is okay. In comparing the Pros and Cons, I find it more logical to monitor employees at work due to higher productivity, prevent from legal liabilities, and to reduce the amount of company theft from employees. From the perspective of employees, employee monitoring involves mainly privacy concerns.
However for the employer, the business suffers danger if monitoring techniques don’t exist. From the business employer point of view, I don’t want to risk millions of dollars lost in productivity due to employees surfing the web for personal gains rather than completing their job functions. The main reason I support employee monitoring is the billions of cost from law suits and legal liabilities of the employer over employees. Since employers are reliable for what their employees do, I feel that the monitoring technique protects them and saves them a lot of money, also the companies reputation. Also, employee monitoring catches employees who steal information from the employer and prevents others from trying.
Companies need to protect proprietary information from getting out, and also save the companies reputation. I feel that work is place to work, hence the fact that you are getting paid. It doesn’t make sense for a employer to hire someone for them to be able to chat all day online, use the internet for their own personal uses, and make calls (and long distance ones). Employees should only be able to do their personal stuff on break, and that is the time I feel is okay for them to use the internet without getting penalized. If you are a good employee, employee monitoring should not be a threat to you since you are doing your job.