On the surface, it might seem like employee privacy rights are nothing more than a safeguard that employers use to protect their employees from embarrassment or worse. Employee privacy rights are critical to maintaining a good working relationship between an employer and their employees.
However, not every employer treats their employees properly. Many companies have different privacy policies that define if and how they monitor their employee’s activity, personal information, and other types of data.
As employee privacy rights are a crucial topic in maintaining a high-quality workflow in companies today, we will cover some of the most important things you need to know about privacy rights and how to protect them. Let’s get right to it.
Rapid technology improvement made room for data abuse to take off, and that’s why keeping your personal information secure can be challenging.
When applying for a job, the employer will ask candidates to share some basic information. If these potential hires don’t know how much data it is appropriate to share, it is possible to reveal too much.
Also, companies may monitor workspace computers to dig deeper into what employees do during work hours. Thus, if the employees perform personal activities, the companies may collect such data as well.
Of course, some employees might feel it appropriate to use a VPN for Windows for their work computers. A Virtual Private Network encrypts traffic and reroutes it through secure servers. Thus, it limits the data companies might be able to collect. Whether VPN services are allowed depends on the workplace. However, many companies reap the benefits of VPN security, especially when people work from home.
When hiring new employees for their company, employers usually conduct a thorough background check on the potential candidates to get more information about them and know whether they’ve failed their employers in the past.
Nevertheless, background checks can cross boundaries of employee privacy rights, especially if employers don’t inform their candidates that third-party investigators will search for additional information about them.
There’s also a big difference between searching for someone on the web and violating their privacy by trying to infringe on their data, messages, and online activity. That’s why an open conversation between an employer and employees is crucial to protecting employee privacy rights.
Many companies use video surveillance mostly to keep their employees and workplaces safe. However, there’s a fine line between seeming to care for your employee’s security and abusing your position to gather sensitive information about them and using it against them.
Every employee has the right to know that the company conducts video surveillance in their workspace, and every type of monitoring without consent can be punishable by law, depending on the country the company’s in and its legal regulations.
If the company’s policy is to have video surveillance in their workspaces, they must only record audio with employees’ consent. Also, companies should refrain from setting cameras in spaces where employees need their privacy, like break rooms, toilets, etc.
Usually, companies may practice restricting their employees from activities that can negatively affect their performance. They can often monitor activity through their computers and company telephones to ensure that employees aren’t falling behind with their work.
Employers can monitor their employee’s activities in different ways and, in some cases, can cross the line and start monitoring their activity outside of their workspaces, which is another employee privacy rights violation.
That’s why your employer must inform you about monitoring company-issued devices. Many employees have felt uncomfortable and unproductive due to extensive monitoring. Thus, companies should guarantee that people feel comfortable and that extensive monitoring remains a last resort.
In some countries, companies can legally install GPS trackers in their company-owned vehicles to ensure their employees won’t misuse them. However, not every state thinks of this as a legal activity, and some companies can even pay high amounts of fines for it.
Although it’s understandable for a company to take care of its devices, property, and vehicles, it might not be able to track its employees through GPS outside work hours. That can also create further problems associated with violating employee privacy rights.
At the end of the day, it is a useful technology, and companies should use GPS tracking in cases where they want to ensure that their workspaces are secure. However, they mustn’t abuse the GPS tracking ability in any way, as it can be a gross violation of their employees’ privacy.
Employee privacy rights are necessary, but they are not unlimited. Employers can’t use employee privacy rights to retaliate against employees who exercise their rights. And finally, employers must comply with any applicable laws that protect the privacy rights of their employees.
By understanding employee privacy rights, employers can create a positive working environment for their employees and maintain control over their personal information. After all, satisfied employees who feel safe in their workspaces will most likely get the job done.