Submit a 1,000 – 1,250 word paper that identifies and examines various legal, ethical, and managerial elements as they apply to employee monitoring.
Employee monitoring refers to any method of tracking the activity of employees at work. Keeping a constant watch on the work of employees while he is at work is known as employee monitoring
In today’s scenario employees monitoring has become much easier due to the use of new technologies. From the view point of employers, use of monitoring devices to track the work of employees increases the efficiency and productivity of employees but at the same time employees feel that continuous monitoring reduces the efficiency and loses the privacy.
However there are certain ethical, legal and managerial implications of employee monitoring which are discussed as follows:-
There are many legal issues involved in employee monitoring. The electronic Communications Privacy Act 1986 does not allow interception of various electronic communications unless certain conditions have been met. The exemption under the act is provided to service organizations. In many countries like Canada it is illegal to perform employee monitoring unless it is proved that monitoring is necessary and no other alternative is available. Wiretap Act which has been amended to include electronic and computer communication prohibits the intentional interception of any information. There are two exceptions provided under the wiretap act which are: a) when party has agreed to perform the interception b) when the interception is related to legitimate business reasons. The exemption under the act is provided to service organizations. In many countries like Canada it is illegal to perform employee monitoring unless it is proved that monitoring is necessary and no other alternative is available. However there are certain legal uses of employee’s information obtained during employee monitoring. In other words some of the uses of employee information which are considered to be legal are discussed as follows:-
Extracting needed information related to business.
Check against the offensive mails
Check on installation of illegal software
Investigation regarding complaints filed for harassment
Employee monitoring has emerged as a necessity and employers are more concerned with the proper behavior of employees during working hours. Some employees are not satisfied with the process of employees monitoring because they feel that too much monitoring destroy the privacy. It is not necessary that employees will always use the internet facilities of employer for business work because they are sometimes anxious to know about the performance of their stock and sometimes about the safety of their family if any unwanted event occurs. Need is felt to explore the ethical issues because employers feel that excess use of internet for private purposes may distract the mind of the employees during work and will increase the cost to the company. Ethics are principles which direct the people towards right act. Ethics involve value and morals. Values are worthy act and morals refer to character and behavior which is acceptable in the society as a whole. Due to emergence of new and advance technology employee monitoring is considered to be an ethical issue. As employee monitoring is emerging as an ethical issue there is a need to establish ethical standards for a company and the ethical application of those standards along with ethical treatment of shareholders.
Ethics and morals are disappearing day by day with the advancement of technologies although the new technology is making the lives of people easier. With the increased use of internet computers email and voice mails, people do not adopt face to face interactions. In the coming years people have to deal with ethical issues due to the wide use of internet and web technology.
These activities are performed during periods of time when they are being paid by their employer. The individual is called a cyber loaf.
Cyber Loafing is the act of employees using their company’s internet access for personal purposes during work hours.
Causes of cyber loafing includes:-
Diversion of responsibility
Efficiency is reduced because contribution cannot be measured.
The relationship between an individual’s input and the group’s output is clouded.
Lim, 2002 concluded after cons of internet that leaders and managers should understand the effect of cyber loafing to work for the company against the company.
Another Ethical issue involved is the loss of privacy at work. But the fact is that reading private emails and messages without the permission of employers are against the ethics of the company. From the point of view of employer the private use of company’s assets may be prevented if a check and continuous monitoring is placed on employers. Legislation has taken steps to solve such ethical issues. One such step is introduction of Capital One Ethical Policy which states that company has right to access emails or read delete and receive any communication.
Certain Managerial implications are also involved in the case. To fully understand the managerial implications, need and reasons of employee monitoring should be considered. Managers should try to develop code of conduct. Code of Ethics should be taken as priority by all the companies.
To develop positive employee relations following five strategies should be considered:-
Educate the employees about the ownership of the property that computer system and services are property of the employer
Company reserves the right to monitor employees emails and internet information
Reasons related to business for monitoring should be clearly understood
Penalty clause should be inserted in the policy and penal provisions in case of policy violations should be imposed.
Positive reasons for monitoring should be explained in a legitimate manner so that they are acceptable to employees
Policy should prohibit personal use in a reasonable manner because it is impossible and impracticable to establish a stringent policy
Legal implications with regard to obtaining consent of employees before monitoring private telephone calls, messages should be discussed.
On the basis of code of ethics focus should be placed on following 10 areas:-
Access to services
Freedom of association
Lodge a complaint • Internal • External • Advocacy
Express ideas and opinions
An agree standard of care
Although there are certain legal ethical and managerial issues involved in employees monitoring which are discussed above, proper understanding about it will help to resolve such issues.
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