Research Paper: Employee Privacy Torts History

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[. . .] While the constitutional right to employee privacy at the workplace has extended to cater a variety of circumstances, it at the same time has also far complicated the issue, as the advances of technology have far escalated the vulnerability to acquire more information of the employees. This has also augmented the challenge for employers as the demand for privacy has increased by the employees and court has extended its constitutional doctrine towards the issue.

Changing Trends of Employee Privacy

It is the twenty first century that has transformed the entire globe and its dilemmas and has brought various new issues to the forefront. Employee privacy rights are amongst the issues that has evolved and surfaced with the changing community, changing workplace dynamics and business environment. Besides, various schools of thoughts also claim that this issue of employee privacy has worsened and escalated due to the developments made in the telecommunication mediums such as internet and email. Due to this reason vulnerability of the issue, the management of the organizations is left with no option except monitoring (Turnbull & Canadian Privacy Institute, 2009).

Employee privacy landscape has continued to evolve and advance, which has been exhibited through numerous reports and studies. Generally, these reports have demonstrated same results with respect to the change in privacy issues that monitoring of employee information, behavior and communications has dramatically increased to paramount heights in the recent years. These monitoring of activities, information, and behavior vary from organization to organization (Turnbull & Canadian Privacy Institute, 2009).

As the privacy trends have changed over the years, governance, technology and regulation have become the three megatrends that play a significant role to the privacy protection in the current times. Law regulation bodies globally as well as in United States are putting their maximum efforts to keep the pace with the velocity of change, as the need for stronger privacy protection is becoming the principal object for employees on a broad spectrum (Bergh, 2000).

Unfortunately, it has been noticed that advances in technology is one of the leading sources that situates the legislation and privacy rights issue backward for every step that they are taking towards progression of the issue, as technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, which is very difficult to cope up with (Bergh, 2000).

The last couple of years have been integral to the changing trends that has transformed the lifestyles of the communities and societies where the communication means and modes have completely changed. Due to this reason, privacy related regulations have also evolved with the intention to cater the needs of the changed lifestyles brought forwarded by the technology (Turnbull & Canadian Privacy Institute, 2009).

The change pattern of the people are usually associated with the change in technology, as it makes the lives of the populace much easier and simpler, but at the same time the concerns of people have been observed to complicate. Amongst them, privacy concerns are one of the integral aspects to take into account. Since extensive personal and confidential information of individuals is widely available over the internet, thus, the need of privacy especially at the workplace has also expanded. Three major issues including loss of personal autonomy, lack of consent, and invasion of privacy have come to the limelight as emerging issues resulted from the changing trends of the community (Gangopadhyay, 2002).

The privacy advocates accentuates that due to the inventions of various technological utensils, employees are encountering with the loss of personal autonomy. This is predominantly due to the reason that electronic monitoring and exploitation of employment records are the primary determinants of restrictions that are causing lack of personal freedom, as the employee always have a feeling that all their moves are being monitored. Moreover, employee consent is not given any importance by many of the employers and is monitored without any consultation when personal information is being collected. These three aspects in general have extended with the time, which is immensely affecting the overall productivity of the employee, as expressed by the privacy advocates (Gangopadhyay, 2002).

Impact of Innovative Technology on Employee Privacy

No one can ignore the fact that technology is one of the rapidly changing drivers and its recent innovations like internet has become a necessity of everyday life of not only U.S. citizens, but masses from all over the globe has become reliant on it. This widespread platform is profoundly used not only by inhabitants of the industrialized world, but corporations are also increasingly using this medium for various functions like advertisements of their products, ease of purchasing access and so forth. Indeed, employers are widely using this medium not only as a strong and effective mode of communication but also using it for the virtual transmissions of documents internationally (School of Law - Hofstra University, 2008).

Network application 'Email' was soon created after internet became the essential tool for many people, which became a dominant type of communication in the workplace. However, it is prudent to note that this form of communication has exposed a wide variety of unexpected problems for numerous employers, which ranged from sexual harassment to economic espionage (School of Law - Hofstra University, 2008).

Since the usage of emails by employees in business environment of the American society has become a widespread trait in the today's fast paced world. In addition, email services are typically used an effective medium of communication (in both internal communication as well as external communication with outside clients and stakeholders); hence, employers on a broad spectrum provide this facility to their employees (School of Law - Hofstra University, 2008).

Technology is one of the magnificent platforms that have provided plentiful benefits to enhance and improve the business activities, and has also resolved many of the complex issues, while at the other hand, it has been considered as one of the major originators to several issues that did not existed previously. Therefore, it is negligible to ignore the effectiveness of such a facility; the technological progression has turned out to create collateral problems concerning employee privacy (Nemati, 2010).

Numerous sources of information has also demonstrated the fact that most of the populace of United States believe that the advances in technology have deteriorated the individual privacy at workplace to a great deal. This is due to the reason that their emails and other information over internet are largely being monitored by the employers. While on the other hand, the perception of employers claim that monitoring of employee's email account has become essential in order to curtail the abusive actions. Moreover, it is also believed that monitoring of the email accounts become a discouraging source for the employees to perform such activities (Nemati, 2010).

The overall impact of technology clearly implies that advances in technology are harmful to the employee privacy and creates a negative impact on both mental and physical health, as the employees are exposed to unnecessary stress due to monitoring (Nemati, 2010).

Role of Social Media towards Employee Privacy

Another remarkable invention of internal platform is social medial networking that provides an opportunity to the masses to stay connected to one another online. Indeed, these social media networking sites have become a prevalent and fastest medium for accessing up-to-date information. In addition, social media not only blossomed rapidly in the communication medium, but also became prominent competitor to e-mail and text messaging. This is because the social media sites enable the users to construct a personal profile and form a list of connections where they can communicate over messages, personal pages, file-sharing, and so on (Flynn, 2012).

Due to the increasing popularity of the world of social networking, more and more people began to use it for their personal networking; in fact, businesses on a broad spectrum also started utilizing this dominant network profoundly to advertise their products, access to information, discover new business opportunities and so on. Moreover, due to the elevating popularity of social media sites, corporations on a wide scale are at many instances build internal networking sites to have collaboration with all the employees. At many occasions, it has been observed that the employees have access to their personal networking sites in the workplace during break and normal hours (Flynn, 2012).

Nevertheless, the rapidly rising consumption of social media network by the people on job hours has raised another grave concern for the employers with respect to the privacy implication. This is due to the reason that the rising of this issue resulted in the monitoring of social networking, as one of the recent forms to keep a check and balance on the employees. The monitoring of such social networking sites are prominent reasons of privacy intrusion, as these are characteristically used as a private medium for communication and inappropriate disclosures to these sites result in potential damages to individuals (Flynn, 2012).

One of the principal worries of employers is the outflow of company's confidential data, as social media allows communication and transfer of information in an open environment. While on the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Employee Privacy Torts History.  (2013, July 31).  Retrieved June 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/employee-privacy-torts-history/3954706

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"Employee Privacy Torts History."  31 July 2013.  Web.  16 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/employee-privacy-torts-history/3954706>.

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"Employee Privacy Torts History."  Essaytown.com.  July 31, 2013.  Accessed June 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/employee-privacy-torts-history/3954706.