Nevertheless, these systems and tools have promoted intrusion into the private lives of employees by both the profession and the employer. Many organizations have opted to use electronic monitoring to track employee productivity and analyze their electronic communication. The issue of electronic monitoring intrusion into employee’s privacy has sparked a major debate between the employers and employee advocates. This paper will discuss the contemporary issues in the use of electronic monitoring by companies to assess employee productivity.
Advancement in information technology: Technological growth has facilitated accurate collection and storage of a great pool of personal information usually without the permission or knowledge of the employee concerned, and whether such information is necessary for business functions. The organizations collect personal information for reasons of evaluation of employee performance,security,and protection from lawsuits among others.
Nevertheless, the privacy laws are not robust enough to shield employees from intrusion (Watt, 2009). Currently, employees of private corporations in the United States lack legal protection against abusive practices of e-mail monitoring.
Therefore, American employers can freely intercept, seek, and read any messages stored on the hard drives of employee’s computer....
This is attributable to the rising incidences of cyber loafing and litigation. Employers believe that their employees will comply with existing organizational benchmarks for behavior when constantly monitored. However, this has resulted to the development of perception of intrusiveness into private life by employees. In the United States, the anxiety about the stock market and concerns about safety of families makes employees seek the latest information from the Internet in the workplace (Rurhsani, 2005). Only under special circumstances would employers put up with excessive use of the internet for activities other than job although they feel that it can lower their performance. Organizations are increasingly demanding the individual employee’s personal information. In spite of enactment of legislation attempting to resolve the issue of privacy, debate is still raging over the ethical issues with regard to the privacy rights. Lack of rational regulation of such monitoring would significantly affect employee’s privacy rights (Mujtaba, 2003; Rustad & Paulsson, 2005). Besides loss in productivity and liabilities involved with employee’s cyber loafing, companies are worried about the sending out of sensitive and secretive information to their competitors, vendors, suppliers, and customers by mischievous employees (Rustad & Paulsson, 2005). Incidences have been reported of employees sharing company’s confidential information and trade secrets with outside employees or friends using an employer’s email system. Moreover, some employees have been found to use an employer’s Internet to initiate or operate their own business while working. Lawsuits may result due to employers being held responsible for employee’s misuse of the internet