Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring

Biometric and motion monitoring also open up a panoply of possible abuses and misuses that have to be recognized and hashed out. Can the personal data gleaned be used to alter, or deny, access to employer-provided insurance plans? Does that data help foster discriminatory or sweatshop treatment by the bosses? Maybe it makes the case for firing people and using more robots?

The Laws and Ethics of Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring

Are you chatting with co-workers? What if this sensitive personal information is hacked? What are the rights of employees whose personal records are at risk and may be misused? Admittedly, this is a dark — but not unrealistic — take on emerging workplace monitoring systems. If used prudently, biometric and other devices can help improve corporate operations.

The workplace is changing and technology is a huge driver of that transformation. New approaches are inevitable and should be welcomed.

Background checks

Sinclair's legal wheeling and dealing could seal its controversial Tribune Media pact. They may even run a credit check to determine your level of financial stability. Your employer wants to know that you pay your rent, mortgage, car note, insurance, utilities, phone bill, child support and credit card bills on time. If you have a low credit score then you present a certain level of risk.

They want to know if you show up on time and if you have a high absenteeism rate. It is entirely possible that the employer won't have time to collect all the information before your first day of work. However, the paperwork you submitted gives them the ability to terminate your employment if the reviews do not come back in your favor.

Don't lie on your resume because the truth will eventually come to light.

Employee onboarding programs are part of the new-hire checklist to acclimate new employees to the company culture. Your company may have an employee orientation meeting, or they may park you in front of a video that defines their expectation, and those of their industry. In some industries, information must be encrypted if it is being sent in a digital format. This protects the user data and the company. Failure to follow industry guidelines can cost the money large fines and attention they don't want from government agencies.

This is where employee monitoring comes into play. While these steps are set up to protect the company from employees that take shortcuts, and it may appear to be a big-brother type of thing, what steps would you take to protect your home from people that you barely know? Your employer will create a Windows user account which is a network ID.

They will provide you with a password that provides you access to certain areas of their network resources. You will also have access to job-related applications such as email and Microsoft Office. You will also have access to a direct phone line which is assigned to your workspace. A password will be provided to allow you to check voice mail from your desk and outside the office. A network ID and password does not give you the keys to the corporate kingdom but will grant you access to different areas of the company based on user permissions granted by the hiring manager and the IT department.

Employers can monitor your productivity at home, at work, and even in some vehicles.

Employee Privacy and Workplace Monitoring

The IT department can watch your computer monitor from their desk and take control of your keyboard. I learned this firsthand when I saw the mouse pointer moving around on my screen. I asked the onsite IT person and she admitted that she accessed my computer, but did not provide a business reason for monitoring my work. You should assume that email exchanges, online interactions, and even team chats are not private.

You should also assume that your employer owns the content of your sent and received email because it is sent through their network.

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You may need access to websites that are currently blocked and will need to provide the IT department and your manager a valid reason for access. It may be blocked because it fits certain criteria that make it easier for them to block all related websites, but doesn't mean that you don't have a valid reason to access the site. Some companies block social media sites because they reduce employee productivity. There are a variety of tools that employers can use for employee tracking purposes.

Computers, phones, and mobile devices

Some companies have a wellness program that requires you to wear a device that monitors your activity level such as daily steps and heart rate. If you are overweight, or a smoker they may give you an incentive to join a gym or to begin a stop-smoking program. Lack of participation can result in increased healthcare premiums and higher deductibles for the employee.

It may seem like a harmless gesture, or a cool incentive if your employer provides you with a Fitbit but what will it really cost you? Each company is ranked by the software on a scale of , using four different metrics and an overall rating. According to the website, the reason Teramind won the Gold Award is because "Teramind has the tools and features that fit into all these important categories. It also has customization options so certain rules can be applied to certain groups of employees and so websites can be filtered only at certain times of the day. If you have an expectation of privacy in your home, then don't use equipment from work.

If you have been assigned a cell phone, tablet or laptop only access this equipment for work purposes. If you don't want your coworkers to know about your private life then don't connect to them on facebook, twitter, Instagram or any other social media channel. You can swap stories about your weekend, your vacation, new in-laws, outlaws, or new pet tricks on Monday.

But don't expect privacy if you're connected to any coworkers on social media. If you have a side business, hobby or other interest, you can create a new brand, a logo, and tagline that doesn't have to include your name. I use HubPages as a creative outlet, and for the first four years just used the profile name lifelovemystery. I have added my real name because occasionally potential employers will ask for writing samples. This validates my writing abilities and can give me an advantage over candidates that cannot provide samples.

Corporate access to privacy tools has expanded to cloud networks and can be deployed virtually anywhere. As companies demand better control, increased productivity and limited access through permission-based controls, the expectation of personal privacy in the workplace will disappear. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Thank you sincerely for your sweet wishes. And say hi to everyone down there in Houston. A "must read" for all new employees.

Workplace monitoring gets personal, and employees fear it's too close for comfort. They're right.

I urge all new employees to read This hub. Most employee 'contracts' pretty much set the expectations from your first day. Thanks so much for your comment! This is nice coverage of the topic.