Everyone deserves to have a right to privacy and this is something that is usually protected in the constitution Of most countries. For instance, in Australia, the right to privacy is protected under federal legislation by way of the 10 privacy principals. Majority of adults usually spend nearly half of their time in the workplace and this is the reason why a great deal of the privacy rights are usually affected by the employment or workplace practices. This paper is an argumentative essay on the issue of workplace privacy.
With the SE of ethical theory, the paper will argue against the notion that an individual’s privacy is more important than any other consideration in the workplace. An employee ought to nearly never have an assumption that he/ she can enjoy utmost privacy while in the workplace. The employers or business owners both in small scale and large scale are allowed by some state and federal laws to monitor their employees in various phases while in the workplace. As a matter of fact, the privacy of the employee in the workplace is only protected by the Federal law when there is a logical expectation of privacy.
While the essay argues against the notion that an workplace, it will also feature a challenging stance (Hansson, 2005; Hologram, 2010). Support for Disagreeing with the Notion The privacy of an individual may be argued by some individuals as being important compared to any other issue within the workplace, however there are various issues regarding the workplace that when compared to the individual’s privacy disapproves this notion. One way in which the privacy of employees in the workplace can be argued to have been infringed is in relation to the usage of the internet and emails.
However, it is important to tote that the company or the organization can face some legal consequences resulting from the inappropriate usage of the internet and emails by its employees. For instance, an employee may send provocative emails to other people using the company’s computers and this may result to the company being involved in some court cases. Furthermore, a company may find itself accused of such things as sexual harassment by some employees through some inappropriate use of the internet by others.
For example, an employee may visit some pornographic sites hence resulting to others who will be using he same computer to be subjected to some distasteful images. This is the reason why the company must always make sure that the working environment for all employees is free from any distasteful or unapproachable images or materials. In this regard, the notion that an individual’s privacy is more important than any other consideration in the workplace cannot be allowed to stand at all times (Hansson, 2005; Hologram, 2010).
Disregarding the privacy of an individual at workplace is not a new issue to the world of business. In fact this is an issue that has been deployed within the manufacturing-industry for numerous decades in tracking output, inventory as well as in general effectiveness (Nash & Stretcher, 2010). Whatever has now changed is the way of supervision as well as the information gathering capabilities’ extent that is available. While employers fancy monitoring the performance of the employee, employees don’t wish any sneeze, or personal activity viewed and heard (Turnout, 2009).
One of these issues is the need to increase productivity. Productivity is an imperative issue that cannot in any Way be compared to the privacy of an individual at the workplace. It is certain hat in most cases the goal to encroach an individual’s privacy is to improve efficiency. Intruding into an individual’s privacy at workplace assists in increasing the productivity of the individual. This may be achieved through the application of objective feedback (Nash & Stretcher, 2010).
Disregarding privacy enables a business to acquire and keep truthful and objective records of the performance of an employee, even after the date of hiring. This helps in warning or sentencing the employee concerning his or her productivity. In addition, the knowledge that their privacy is not recognized pushes the rockers to enhance their productivity which is of great significance to their personal growth as well as the growth of the business (Turnout, 2009 ; Discipline and respect towards the duties of the business at the workplace is another issue that is of great significance than the privacy of an individual.
Various Employers want to make sure that employees are attentive and dedicated to their tasks. They also want to ensure that they have the discipline required in order to achieve the business goals. According to deontological theory individuals ought to stick to their duties when exploring n ethical dilemma (Coop, 2006). Therefore an individual must follow his or her duties since what is regarded as ethically correct is upholding one’s duty. Employers also discourage time being spent on personal matters at working hours.
The data collected concerning the use of computer, for instance may assist employers to shift the time spent by employees on non work emailing and browsing to more fruitful usage (Coop, 2006). Particular knowledge, gleaned via computer monitoring software, offers employers the capability to institute policies which centers on problematic areas. Intruding into an employee’s privacy via monitoring, may reveal the acts of employees of socializing on faceable or online shopping during work time. As a result management may particularly restrict such practices via deployment of software filters which block access to particular sites.
To achieve this they not only overlook the individual’s privacy but also monitor every employees step. Employers may easily trace the usage of internet on the network of the business, disclosing whether their web access is being used by the employees for pleasure or work. Monitoring is also conducted to email as well as loophole systems. According to Nash & Stretcher (2010) almost 33 percent of every business has fired employees due to viewing of unsuitable content online or unwarranted internet’s personal usage while at the workplace and during working times.
Studies also show that disregarding an individual’s privacy at the workplace through monitoring method minimizes the down time that employees take during the day of work at the workplace. It also discourages extended breaks as well as the usage of the resources of the company for personal issues (Turnout, 2009). Protection of the business or he employer is another issue that surpasses the importance of the privacy of an individual within the workplace. It is certain that the employer or the business is the most important issue before anything else.
This is largely because more than one individual depend on the employer or the business including both individuals at the work place and outside the workplace. Going by the utilitarian ethical theory, the choice which yields utmost benefit to the majority of the individuals is the choice which is ethically right (Coop, 2006). The greatest benefit of this utilitarian theory is that an individual may valuate similar foreseen solutions and make use of a point system in determining which choice is of greater benefit to more individuals.
Protection of the business in this picture is seen to be of most important to the majority of individuals compared to an individual’s privacy. Therefore the business being the reason for the existence of everyone in that particular workplace must be protected through any means including encroaching into the privacy or disregarding the privacy of an individual (Nash & Stretcher, 2010). This will guarantee maximum protection of the business or the employer.
Therefore, minor theft like a female employee making use of her purse to slip in a package of paper clips gets minimized through ignoring the privacy of an individual by deploying monitoring gadgets. Moreover, Encroaching in an individual’s privacy helps in the process of protection of the business or employer especially in the lawsuits involving the business (Turnout, 2009). For instance, workers caught on camera, stealing, violating the policies of the business, or neglecting their duties have less possibility of winning in an unfair termination lawsuit since the infraction’s clear evidence can be resented by the business.
The high tech forensics enables incriminating of an individual. This is because they enable emails or memos which a worker has erased from the office-computer to be recovered and be used as evidence of illegal behavior. By paying no attention to the privacy of an individual the company protects itself against employees’ acts of leaking out trade secrets to its competitors or the acts of involving in sabotage of the business efforts. Modern surveillance tools too increases the potential of the management in safeguarding the assets of the company (Nash & Stretcher, 010).
Another issue that may lead to disregard of the privacy issue, thereby causing the encroachment of an individual’s privacy at workplace is the need to evaluate the performance of employees. This is an imperative issue that is aimed at determining and separating the hardworking and the unproductive employees (Nash & Stretcher, 2010). Objective feedback on the performance of the employee and productivity may be used in carrying out performance appraisal, evaluating training effectiveness, establishing raises and promotions, or determining the disciplinary action which may be required Turnout, 2009).
Businesses which come up with decisions based on performance objective quantitative measurements may not be sued for bias during promotions. According to most employers, disregarding the privacy issue permits them to conduct an effective evaluation of the performance of the employees, thereby coming across good issues and bad issues regarding an employee thus acting appropriately. This statement seems to be in agreement with the casuist ethical theory which allows an individual to determine the situation’s severity and to formulate the best probable solution according to the experiences of the others (Coop, 2006).
The quality of the product or service offered at the workplace also seems to be an issue of great importance compared to the privacy of an individual. It is certain that in order to maintain or outwit competitors the quality of the products or services rendered must be exemplary. One way of achieving this is ignoring the privacy of the individuals at the workplace and deploying indispensable means such as employee monitoring (Nash & Stretcher, 2010). This ensures the improvement in the productivity of the employee and at the same time assures quality.
Electronic capturing systems permit employers to make sure customers obtain quality service an issue that is so imperative at the workplace. This issue of quality is in line with the rights ethical theory bearing in mind that it is the right of the customers to get the best quality ever. Therefore, the employer ought to use which ever means including encroaching into the individuals’ privacy at the workplace to ensure that this is attained (Coop, 2006). The safety of the employer, employee as well as the customer together with their properties definitely outweighs the importance f the privacy of an individual.
In this regard, it is imperative to have an environment that is safe for work than to honor the individual’s privacy Turnout, 2009. To achieving this, video surveillance is conducted at the parking lots and any other strategic position within the working place (Nash & Stretcher, 2010). This also helps in sentencing individuals in case they are seen stepping on a dangerous territory or element, or carrying out their duties in a manner that is risky to the employee and the entire working area.
Video surveillance is also used in fighting dishonesty and fraud of employees t the workplace. Close monitoring of employees is therefore very important in ensuring that utmost safety of the workplace is achieved. This safety issue concurs with both the rights ethical theory and the virtue ethical theory (Coop, 2006). The rights theory argues that the rights (including the right to safety) set forward by the society ought to be protected and granted the highest priority (Coop, 2006).
Therefore, the employer must protect the right to safety by offering it, provided he or she has the potential and resources in executing the same. On the other hand, according to the virtue ethical theory, t takes the morals, motivation and reputation of a person into account when a bizarre and irregular behavior which is regarded unethical is being rated. For instance if an individual acts in a dishonest manner and is later detected by the employer, the employer who recognizes the individual well will comprehend the character of the person and will be capable of judging the individual (Coop, 2006).
The notion that an individual’s privacy is more important than any other consideration in the workplace is actually misleading because any communication carried out within the company cannot be argued to be riveter. Just because employees send and receive emails with the use of ‘personal’ computers that have been assigned to them in the workplace is not a sufficient reason for them to assume that the communications are private too. Despite the fact that most organizations respect the privacy of their employees, the emails sent using the organizational computers cannot be guaranteed to remain purely private.
The communication systems used by the employees while they are in the workplace are purely the property of the company. In this case, the company reserves a legal access to anything that is led within those communication systems. Most civil as well as criminal cases related to the workplace environment have called for the confiscation Of memory disks of computers to provide evidence for some wrong doing investigations. In this regard, just because an employee uses some password in accessing their emails in the workplace doesn’t mean that these mails are private.
If anything, it has been ruled by the courts that passwords cannot guarantee privacy for the employees in terms of their emails because the company can always access such mails. In this case, employees cannot assume that their privacy supersedes any other activities when it comes to the use of the communication systems of the company (Farrell, 2011 ; Hologram, 2010). Another thing that greatly touches on the rights of the employees in the workplace is the issue of identity theft.
Due to the advanced technology, the issue of identity has become very rampant and it can happen with a lot of ease, particularly as regards to electronic communication. This is the reason why employers usually review the email communication history of employees in case there have been some form of complaints against the employee. Such a complaint may involve a case of sexual harassment. Furthermore, electronic surveillance by employers may also be called for by the government in some instances.
For instance, there can be an order from the government to a particular employer to execute a search warrant on the email communication or voice mail messages carried out by a given employee on the computer system of the employer. In this regard, the actions of the employers can be supported particularly in this aspect as following the deontological ethics or what is generally referred to as demonology (Hologram, 2010). This is where an action, in this case that of the employers, as being in line with what the rules call for.
The actions of the employers in trying to control the actions of the employees may sometimes be seen as obligatory based on the fact that they are expected to do so by the government and to be in a position to produce some information in case they are required to do so (Hansson, 2005). In this regard, while the monitoring of the email communications may be against the privacy of the employees, at times the employer is forced to look into to avoid such things as identity theft being propagated with the use of the computer yester of the company.
This is indeed in line with utilitarianism (Yearly, 2010). According to utilitarianism, an action is right to the level that it tends to promote the utmost good for the maximum number. Nonetheless, there has been a lot of debate regarding what can be referred to as the ‘utmost good’ In this regard, while the minority may be sacrificed, the employers have no choice but to limit the privacy of employees to avoid a few infringing into the privacy of others (Hansson, 2005; Hologram, 2010; Riser 2002). Inconsideration in the workplace cannot be allowed to stand in the workplace cause it can be abused by some of the employees to infringe into the rights of others. For instance, the use of mobile phones in the work place has been banned by some companies in the contemporary society. This is because mobile phones, particularly the ones with cameras, have been used by some people to pull up some personal information belonging to other people within the organization.
In such a situation, while granting the individual the privacy of using his/her mobile phone in the workplace, they go ahead to infringe on the privacy of others (Hansson, 2005). Challenging Stance It is worth noting that the issue of workplace privacy for the employees has been a controversial issue for long among different scholars with some arguing for and others against. Employees and the scholars that support them, on the other hand, argue that the privacy of the employees while in the workplace ought to be respected by the employers.
In this regard, there have been even some suggestions that stricter rules need to be established to avoid the outflow of data that has very personal as well as sensitive information about the employees. While majority Of the employees agree that he employers have a right to keep an eye on the different activities taking place in the workplace, they believe that there should be a limitation on this to ensure that their privacy is not excessively violated (Hansson, 2005).
From instance, a situation whereby an employee is writing a very personal email to their family members and one that they wouldn’t want their work mates to know about. In a situation whereby the employer reads the emails of the employees for no specific reasons, and an IT person within the company happens to notice some personal information of a given employee, and then he information can be easily leaked out. It should be noted that in the contemporary society, the privacy rights of employees have become a very serious issue in the various workplaces.
In this regard, majority of the scholars who support the privacy rights of the employees in the workplace suggest that the privacy rights of the employees in the workplace should be split into different categories, particularly as regards to who in the workplace should know particular information of other employees and to what extent (Hansson, 2005). Conclusion While employers desire to monitor each and every aspect of their employees articulacy in the workplace, the employees feel that every single activity including what is private should not been known by the employer.
In this regard, one of the ethical issues that have risen in the modern times is the issue of regulation of employees’ privacy in the workplace. This is an issue that has been debated by so many people with each side having some reactionary supporters. The ethical theory deals what is viewed to be right or wrong and as seen, the actions of the employers to limit the privacy of the employees have been supported with the use of both deontological ethics as well as utilitarianism. This argumentative essay was based on the issue of workplace privacy.
With the use of ethical theory (demonology and utilitarianism), the paper has argued against the notion that an individual’s privacy is more important than any other consideration in the workplace. Employees can never be allowed to have an assumption that they can enjoy extreme privacy whenever they are in the workplace.