The case against employee monitoringOn the contrary, electronic surveillance maysend negative messages to the workforce.
In many cultures, it may raise privacyconcerns, injure trust, increase the stress level and raise questions offairness.Many employees have privacy concerns regarding monitoringand what kind of information being collected throughout the process, especiallywhen the employer invades their social network activities and emails. Furthermore,excessive monitoring and tracking employees’ online activities have directimpact on reducing innovation and productivity, says Karen Levy, a postdoctoralfellow at New York University’s Information Law institute1. Employers usually justifysuch actions by claiming that by owning the computer they have the utmost rightto access emails produced by it.
Bahaudin Mujtaba of Nova SoutheasternUniversity in the Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship argues”While employers use monitoring devices to keep track of their employees’actions and productivity, their employees feel that too much monitoring is aninvasion of their privacy.”9 and someemployers practice monitoring without explicitly notifying their employees.Trust is often a major issue in monitored-environments. Alot of employees would perceive it as their employer doesn’t trust them, and asa result, this can definitely be an obstacle and a step backwards in therelationship between both of them.
In the `Journal of Business Ethics’, RitaManning highlights the dark side of surveillance “When we look at theworkplaces in which surveillance is common, we see communities in trouble. Whatis missing in these communities is trust.”9Employees being monitored constantly, especially forevaluation purposes, generates a high level of stress and a lot of pressure.The higher stress levels they get, the more dissatisfied about the job theybecome and this leads to decreased morale and lack of motivation. Some othercases known as “bathroom break harassment” where the stress of an employeereaches a very high level because they fail to take enough bathroom breaks outof fear of termination. A real-life example would be, United Airlines, when asupervisor threatened an employee with firing her and terminate her contract aftershe went over her permitted bathroom time. Flight reservationists are usuallyallotted with a total of 12 minutes bathroom breaks during a 7.
5 hours shift2.Monitoring at the workplace may raise questions offairness, giving that such systems target only line employees and nothigh-level executives or managers3 which makes it completelyunethical to implement. Women working in low-paying positions are more likelyto be targeted and monitored, according to an article in Public PersonnelManagement, “The majority of employees being electronically monitored arewomen in low-paying clerical positions.
“4. Another issue related tofairness could be whether the information collected is work related or whetherthe standards are viewed as reasonable. The National Association of WorkingWomen summed it all up by saying, “the work lives of monitored employeescan be characterized by three words: invasion, stress, and fear”5.Bottom line From mypoint of view, electronic surveillance is only ethical when: 1. The employer has set awritten and transparent policy that employees can review and agree on. 2.
You make sure toimplement and apply monitoring on all employees regarding their (age, gender orposition). 3. Ensuringthat all data collected are work-related and none of it could be considered breachof privacy right. 4.You engage employees in the monitoring process so they become familiar with itand able to identify their weak and strong points.But it is totally not ethical if: 1.
The employer tracks personal data andactivities of employees without a pervious notice. 2. Monitoring is only applied on some employeesnot on all workforce. 3.Monitoring implemented without informing the employees explicitly. 4. Surveillance crossed the limit ofproductivity evaluation e.
g. (bathroom break harassment).1 Williams, R. (Sep.30, 2015).
Psychology Today. Retrieved 25 November,2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201509/your-boss-is-watching-you-the-employee-monitoring-explosion 2 Crampton, M. ;Nishra, S. (NA). Olemiss.edu.
Retrieved 24 November,2017, from http://faculty.bus.olemiss.edu/breithel/final%20backup%20of%20bus620%20summer%202000%20from%20mba%20server/frankie_gulledge/employee_workplace_monitoring/employee_monitoring_privacy_in_the_workplace.htm 3 Williams, R. (Sep.30, 2015).
Psychology Today. Retrieved 25 November,2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.
com/blog/wired-success/201509/your-boss-is-watching-you-the-employee-monitoring-explosion 4 Schulman, M. (Nov 20, 2000). SantaClara University.
Retrieved 26 November, 2017, from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/business-ethics/resources/littlebrother-is-watching-you/ 5 Crampton, M. ;Nishra, S. (NA). Olemiss.
edu. Retrieved 24 November,2017, from http://faculty.bus.olemiss.edu/breithel/final%20backup%20of%20bus620%20summer%202000%20from%20mba%20server/frankie_gulledge/employee_workplace_monitoring/employee_monitoring_privacy_in_the_workplace.htm