Employees Privacy at Workplace


EmployeesPrivacy at Workplace

Employees’privacy at work place is a vital factor in the development ofcompany’s policies. Employers should provide an enablingenvironment for their employees to improve the level of efficiency.The strategic human resource management encompasses the formulationand implementation of right procedures in relation to the welfare ofemployees at work. Several times management accesses the emails oftheir employees and also monitors the level of internet browsing. Atsome instances, some employers intrude into the drawers of theiremployees. It is legally outlined about the rights to privacy for anygiven individual at work (Walsh 2013).

Thecase supporting the reason behind employers monitoring theiremployees work times are because of productivity. Employees are paidto perform and therefore, they should be monitored to some extent.This topic of discussion is controversial as many proponents differin their views of the level of monitoring. Employees’ rights shouldnot be infringed in the process of monitoring their privacy at work(Walsh 2013). Employees should expect some given levels of privacy atworkplace as it is their rights as outlined in the followingdiscussion.

InNovember 2012, employment and labor bulletin outlined the case ofemployee privacy through a ruling issued by the Canadian SupremeCourt. The case, R v Cole, which was highly awaited by everyone,involved a high school teacher who had a nude photograph in thelaptop he was issued by the school. There is an aspect of employeeprivacy as portrayed by the ruling of the court (Walsh 2013).However, the ruling of the court was based on the context of a publiccompany. It was outlined that an employee has the right to privacy ofany materials stored in their equipments, however, supplied by theemployer. According to the charter, being in possession of a nudephotograph of an underage female is criminal. However, the way thepolice conducted the search was inappropriate, a warrant was neverissued, and that turned the whole issue an offence. The ruling wasset a benchmark even to the private sector to apply in the case ofsuch a scenario (Walsh 2013).

Inaruling made by the Supreme Court of the United States, employees’privacy at workplace was issued. The extent of privacy, however, wasrestricted to the physical space in the office this entails theircabinets and drawers. The extent of privacy is, however, restrainedin the event of suspicion of activity by the employer. This isexplained in the case US v Simons, 2006, where an employee of thebureau was found having downloaded a great number of materialsrelated to pornography. This case expounded the extent to which anemployer can conduct a search in the individual employee space atwork (Walsh 2013). Simon as an employee of the bureau expected somereasonable level of privacy however, this was superseded by a policyissued by the employer. From the case, it is evident that employeesshould only expect reasonable levels of privacy but at the same timeshould uphold the company policies (Walsh 2013).

Theprivacy of employees at the workplace is guided by the employmentpolicy of that specific organization. For instance, if the companypolicy states that employees’ workplace is not a private area, anysearch by the employer would not result to infringement of privacy.Another instance is where employees are given warnings especiallywhen diverting to sites that are not related to work. It is, however,notable that the type of company determines the context of employees`privacy that is whether public or private (Walsh 2013). In a publiccompany, employees’ privacy is vital as stipulated in the rulingoffered by the Canadian Supreme Court. Technology has, however,neutralized the concept of employees’ privacy. This has beenaccelerated by absence of clear guidelines in relation to technologyand privacy.


Walsh,D. J. (2013). Employmentlaw for human resource practice.Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.