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Experts Speak

Maintaining The Fine Balance Of Employee Monitoring

There is no doubt that monitoring employees have always been a tricky proposition for more companies. The surveillance helps them to make sure that their employees are working at their best abilities, and are not making any mischief during office hours. However, privacy is an important factor for employees. There was always an argument about the amount of privacy that the employees of any organization should enjoy.

The global pandemic gave this issue yet another interesting twist. The pandemic forced most companies to let their employees work from home for months. While surveillance in the office was already a debatable issue, keeping an eye on the employees while they work from their homes creates other problems for the organizations.

If the employer maintains certain limits, most of the employees are fine with some sort of monitoring. A survey conducted in the US has found that about 90% of people don’t mind if their employers check on them during the working hours. However, the same survey has found that half of those employees would like to structure their working schedule differently to make sure their productivity is not hampered. This creates a problem for organizations, as productivity is their main concern.

While there is no dearth of ways of keeping an eye on the employees, companies remember the drawbacks of such actions. The privacy legislation of different states of Canada places different limits on the information that a company can collect about their employees. The law also is quite clear about the ways the companies can use the collected information for their benefits.

In 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada gave a decision in a famous case that involves an Ontario high school teacher accused of having child pornography on his work computer.

The lower court said that the employer has the right to search the laptop of the employee up to a certain extent. However, when the school turned the computer over to the police, who searched the same without any warrant, they crossed a line and violated the privacy of the teacher.

The supreme court also agreed that there is an expectation of privacy about the information and emails on the work computer. However, the expectation has diminished greatly in recent years.

Technology Policy

Lawyers of De Bousquet PC law firm suggest that it is always better to have a clear technology policy that states that the employer owns the work equipment that the employee uses. The declaration can also maintain the fact that the work emails are not confidential, and thus, there is no violation of privacy expectations of the employee if the employer wants to check it from time to time.

Advantages of Employee Monitoring

Before debating further on this issue, we should check the pros and cons of employee monitoring. This understanding will help the employers as well as the employees to deal with the tough situation with better perception and sympathy.

Increased productivity

This is the single claim that every employee monitoring software manufacturer claims. The surveys conducted on the employees also found that under monitoring, the productivity of the employees working from home enhances 26%, while the productivity of the office workers grew 32%.

Data Security

According to the legal practitioners, about 60% of data breaches are caused by the employees. Even though most of them are unintentional, it can still cost your business thousands of dollars. With the help of employee monitoring, you can significantly limit the chances of such breaches taking place.

Better Resource Allocation

Employee monitoring enables employers to have an overview of the daily activities of their employees. This helps you to find out the busiest employees of your company and make sure that you don’t pile up more work on them.

Litigation Protection

According to the professionals, employee monitoring ensures that your workers are not engaged in any kind of office misconduct, and helps you to stay ahead of any litigation.

Disadvantages of employee Monitoring

Employee Privacy Issues

The monitoring, wiretap, and privacy laws are there for some reasons. It protects every one of the countries and makes sure that each of them enjoys their right to privacy. If the companies are not careful, they can pretty easily cross the barrier and invade the privacy of their employees.

Ethics of Employee Monitoring

Ethics of tracking the employees is yet another question that has still not been answered. It entirely depends on the employer’s approach to monitoring and how they use the collected data.

Privacy concerns can easily cause legal issues for the employers if they try to work through the loopholes. If you are ready to take this step, then equip yourself with a robust team of lawyers.

Finding the right answers to this difficult issue is not that easy. You have to think carefully about the legal consequences as well as the well being of your employee if you have decided to start this system in your organization. Otherwise, you might have to face legal charges.

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by Sushree Swagatika

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