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Employers’ Right to Know Private Information of Employees Essay

The right to privacy is a provision stated clearly by the U.S Constitution and the statutes and all citizens are protected from illegitimate disclosure of private information about them. It is also a fundamental and basic element of moral philosophy deeply rooted in societies to protect private lives of individuals (YourPrivacy, 2010). While the Constitution provides for this protection, employers have some rights to know relevant private information about their employees which might otherwise affect the performance at the place of work

The employer is entitled to know critical information such as the private information on drug use (Carol, 2009). Drug users and addicts can have significant effects to the performance of the business. Drug use can make individuals to report late to work, form habits of absence from work or inefficiency in their general performance. The result of these effects is the decrease in production which decreases profitability. The private information which can be claimed by the employer should only that information which significantly affects the performance of the business. Health information, though private is critical to an employer for planning and other conveniences (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, 2010).

Employers may only have the right to check on the employees’ lockers and

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desks, check personal e-mails and listen to phone calls when it is necessary. Prior to this, the employer has to communicate the employees that monitoring will be executed. In States such as Michigan, employers are not supposed to inquire about the private lives of their employees (Carol, 2009).

However, the health habits such as smoking and other drug use do not constitute the protected rights and the employer can inquire about the information and use it for the decision to hire or not to. This argument is relevant to moral philosophy as the benefits of knowing this critical information will save other employees and the business at large.


Carol, L (2009). Employers have some rights to know about workers’ private lives: when            does it become too personal? Retrieved August 6, 2010 from,   http://www.allbusiness.com/labor-employment/human-resources-personnel-       management/12426661-1.html

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (2010). Fact sheet 7: workplace privacy and employee monitoring.           Retrieved August 6, 2010 from, http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs7-work.htm

YourPrivacy (2010). Your privacy at work. Retrieved August 6, 2010 from,             http://www.yourprivacy.co.uk/YourPrivacyRightsAtWork.html

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