Monitoring Employees at Work and The Privacy Violation

Even if the relationship between employer and employee must be one based on mutual trust and respect, monitoring the activities that people perform at work is relatively a general practice. It is meant to give the employer an overview of the quality of work carried out by the staff and employees should be aware that a business depends, to a large extent, on the continuous assessment of risks that may endanger the reputation or the smooth running of the organization. However, with the evolution of technology, many people began to look with reluctance at this practice and to wonder if their right to privacy could be violated.

On one hand, we must recognize that monitoring employee activity could easily make the scope of issues such as professional ethics and law concerns. On the other, it is normal for the employer to be concerned about what employees are doing at work, while using the company equipment and during working hours. However, there is a quite delicate boundary between this matter and beginning a strict supervision, which would breach the employees’ privacy. So it should not exceed the point where it’s only intended to maintain the productivity, the reputation, or issues related to internal security and confidential data.

Which Are The Limits Beyond Which We Should Not Pass

As mentioned, the evolution of technology has made monitoring tools to be the most diverse. Thus, if supervisors or shift leaders to ensure that employees have everything they need to do their work properly are rather from the past, nowadays there are options such as email filters, blocking websites with malicious content or storing phone call history. Sometimes, especially in bigger companies, working with large volumes of data, taking information security measures which involve monitoring how they are being used could be a request from the customer who entrusts different services.

There are some limits beyond which employers should not pass in their quest to avoid dangerous situations, such as leaks or cyber attacks. One of the things that should not miss from the employer-employee relationship is transparency. First of all, the organization should develop a set of rules and acknowledgment documents, to distribute them to employees periodically and establish very clearly what is being monitored, where and under which conditions. Also, it is crucial to explain to employees why monitoring is so important, what are the benefits that it brings to the organization and how it helps maintain the stability of the work environment.

Data Storage, Using the Phone and Social Networks

Monitoring systems can often become intrusive and disturbing, even though we talk about methods such as software or if we think about CCTV, which can not be placed anywhere in the building, for example. Additionally, employers who monitor data to store it should ensure that it’s kept secure and inform employees about this so that they won’t have to worry about the fact that databases could be broken, and the information could reach the wrong hands. Data storage is vital because the history of the monitored actions that employees performed in the IT system, even unintentionally, can help the IT department to identify and eliminate the cause of a problem that led to vulnerabilities in the entire system.

In the contemporary context, it is advisable to have a policy on the use of social networks in which specify if it is allowed to use them during working hours or not and to what extent or in what context employees can post things about the company where they work. Regarding mobile phones, it would be better for employers not to impose restrictions, but to have clear rules for situations in which their use may affect the activity of employees, such as when we talk about drivers. Internet use should not be restricted when it comes to regular searches, but the IT departments have enough tools available with which they can block access to certain websites.


Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.