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Topic:

Employee Privacy (Case Study Sample)

Instructions:

Employee privacy in Business Organizations.

source..
Content:
Employee Privacy
Student Name
Institution Name
Date
Paper Outline
Introduction
Background Information
Employee Privacy
Employee Privacy Laws Statements
Limits of Employee Privacy
Effects of Employee Privacy Laws
Effects on The Employee
Effects on The Employer
Discussion of the Effects
Benefits
Negative Influence
Improvement of the Work Place
Changing the laws
Amendment of the Laws
Sample Cases
Recommendation
Conclusion
Introduction
The requirement of international labour organizations is that employers ought to maintain best practice in the implementation of the core objectives of the institution. This should go along with the integration of employee privacy in the institution. It is very vital for the organization and the workers to observe the limits of information disclosure beyond which the employer is seen to violate the rights of the employees. At the same time, it is important for the employer to realise that even after the employer discloses the information, there are limits to the sharing of such information with third parties. Employee privacy laws and the principle of best practice provide protection and create assurance of confidentiality between the organizations and their workers.
Employee Privacy is the practice of protection of a set of information regarding the employee, whether they are sensitive or not. It involves the control of what happens to the employees’ personal information. Failure of the employer to protect the information raises employee privacy issues. A good example is in the Federal laws on privacy, which control the gathering and protection of personal details in every private institution. It has a set of minimum confidentiality standards referred to as the privacy principles. The principles apply to every organization that has a yearly turnover of over 3 million US Dollars (Burks, 2010). The Federal Law expects that all private institutions should comply with the privacy laws and principles, including the principles of best practice. In the argument by McClennan and Schick (2007), employee protection is vital at workplace to govern the freedom of employee communication within the work place without interference by the employer. Many organizations have restrictions on the limits of communication among employees within and even outside the organization.
Background Information
Employers always wish to ensure that their employees do relevant work that meets the organization objectives. However, the employees do not wish to have all their affairs monitored.
That is an essential cause of conflicting interests at workplace. The new information technologies enable the employers to follow up on many aspects of their employees at work. The technologies include the use of phones, telephones, personal computers, electronic mail and the Internet (Halyna, Orr and Dimitriadis, 2005). These follow ups are usually not regulated. In that regard, the employer has the right and the ability to monitor, listen, read and even watch the communications of their employees across the network of the organization. The only exception is where the organization policy is regulated and does not have an interest in such information. According to Kevin and Tammy, (2011), employees in the unregulated companies operate under fear of victimization and may not be able to communicate all information freely. This breaks through their privacy space and violates their fundamental rights of confidentiality, where as the employer gains from the control of information communication. On the same note, Mishra and Crampton (1998) argue that it is vital for employers to have the knowledge of sensitive information that their employees share on the network, which may be detrimental to their objectives. For example, some employees send sensitive information of the company to the competitors of the company through electronic mails. Secondly, employees are also tempted to discuss their problems on the network in form of complains and incitements. The privacy laws consider such rights and provide a regulated limit to the employers, giving them the rights to access of to the sensitive information (Kevin & Tammy, 2011).
Many information and communication technologies give an insight into the behaviors of various workers based on the audit trails, known as the digital footprint. This shows all activities that an employee carried out the whole day and the kind of information they share. Such trails are important to the employer in cases of forensic investigation upon occurrence of an incident. The privacy laws govern the behavioral modeling on the information technology and the use of the electronic information to provide a framework of actions, which employers can take monitor and treat the employee’s conduct as suggested by McClennan and Schick (2007). The challenge that some employees face with this freedom has generated new ideas of communicating confidential information, including creation of communication codes between individual employees (Burks, 2010). It is a fact that many employers secretly investigate the communication of employees’ information. This is especially true after the international employment organizations approved the use of electronic information as evidence to court cases. Employers worry about the kind of information being shared among their employees and are able to use them as evidences to unlawful communication, to justify their actions on the employees.
Sample Employee Privacy acts
3.1. Australian Privacy Act 1988
The Privacy Act of 1998 in Australia acknowledges the fact that every employee has a right to privacy and legal needs to be met. This act relates to the gathering of information, keeping and degree of disclosure of the personal information. It provides the power of sharing of the information about the code of employees in the public domain for legal purposes and for the sake of investigation.
3.2. Information Privacy Principles (IPP)
This is the fourteenth section in the Privacy Act. It controls the usage and the disclosure of personal information. This principle states that employers will only use or disclose personal information for the exact purpose for which it was meant. This implies that the employer cannot use it for any other purpose.
3.3. Privacy Principle 6: Access to Personal Information
It states that every person has a right to get their personal information concerning him or her from whoever holds them. It also states that personal information should be stored in a form that is easy to retrieve and provide access to them to the owner.
3.4. Privacy Principle 7: Correct Personal Information
This principle states that information should be stores in same way it is. This means that every action should be assigned to the owner. For example, if an employee asks the employer to alter some of his or her personal information, the employers should document the request, indicating that indeed the employee asked him or her to change the information.
Employee Privacy
Employee Privacy Laws Statements
In the privacy laws, the description of private or personal information is a set of information, which exclusively belongs to an individual, and which the individual has the right to keep secret. The second description of the personal information is the set of information used in identifying an individual. This includes names, passport number, age, religion, group associations, photographs, signatures, personal income scales and bank account (Mishra & Crampton, 1998).
There is a lot of confusion among not only employers but also the public about the ways of treating personal information. For example, one may not imagine that knowing an employee’s place of work is a private issue. What an employer may choose to share about an employee is however treated as personal unless the employer has approval or demand from administrative authorities including the government. Essentially, all manner of information in which the person is reasonably identifiable is considered private by the principles of best practice and the laws of privacy. Of course, there is certain information with higher levels of sensitivity, such as health status. The employer has the legal mandate to keep the employee information secret until the authorities ask for them.
Employee privacy demands the protection of personal information, in the realisation that some of the information can be extremely sensitive and delicate. These include the information about the employee’s race, ethnic alignment, political stand, social and political association, professional ambitions and personal philosophy (Halyna, Orr & Dimitriadis, 2005). Some employees do not prefer to be mentioned about their criminal information and marital status, health and personal weaknesses (Mishra & Crampton, 1998). The Privacy Principles gives a higher standard whenever institutions are involved in the management of sensitive details. In obedience to the best practice, organizations apply similar high standards, regardless of whether they privacy act covers them or not. This ensures that the sensitive and personal information are well protected.
Limits of Employee Privacy
The laws of privacy and the principles of best practice allow employers to gain access to all private information concerning an employee. That notwithstanding, some of the private information may be very sensitive and the employee may not wish that the employer discloses the information to third parties. This implies that the employer has the responsibility to protect the employee information and think of ways of collecting and using the information. The employer is not allowed to disclose any of such information to any third party without the employees consent or orders from government information.
In many incidents, ...
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