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Check Out Our Privacy in the Workplace Essay

Introduction

Recently, the world has immensely developed. With the increased use of computers in business and among in the representatives of the business society, it has become necessary to analyze business ethical issues and factors surrounding these issues. The eligibility of deployment from work with a reason of the use of social network has also raised questions in the recent past.  Privacy policies of various companies now allow the employer’s investigation of social networks. Some circumstances that arise during the employees’ use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest may lead to their firing. The issue of privacy in the work place is going to be discussed in this paper to show how private issues posted in the internet may affect workers’ lives in business organizations.

Discussion of Thesis

To object the thesis statement, I have used the case of Lidl. It was a grocery company with many branches in Germany. The owner of the company had hired detectives who installed microphones and cameras everywhere around the working environment. Investigation of the employees is truly fundamental in a business, but overdoing it, especially by violating privacy policies, may harmfully affect the work of these employees. Employees may use Facebook and other social networks as a tool to market their work places and interact positively with their customers. It has sometimes led to the violation of their privacy, especially bearing in mind that they used to install cameras in toilets to monitor the employees. Each employee in any business should be entitled to a reasonable degree of privacy. In the case of Lidl, it was too much to spy on the employees even in the toilets. The manager of the company defended his actions by stating that his intent was only to prevent theft on behalf of employees. In this company, it was possible for an employee to suffer deployment because of the information found in a social network. Post work activities and relationship status should not be used as evidence to cause penalties or loss of employment (Johnson, 2012).  

 The society of today is IT configured and any personal information released to a social network may not be traced back. Therefore, employees should be conscious during the use of Facebook and other social networks. The use of Facebook does not guarantee employee privacy by any chance.  In fact, employees must sometimes link their social network accounts with those of their employers. Even after disabling the Facebook account, a lot of personal information can still be found in the web. Therefore, it may be a hard task to reverse a set of information released on Facebook by an employee. Personal information may then be used against the employee in some sense during his/her working years. The quality of information and the accuracy of information released on Facebook is also subject to many questions. It means that if employers have to use personal information found on Facebook and other social networks, they also have to conduct an investigation. Caution should be taken because there is a high likelihood that distortive personal information is released on social networks by an employee’s competitors or enemies with an intention of causing his/her stumble. The use of social networks also produces erroneous personal information. In case an employee posts erroneous information on social networks, the truth is that the employee may find it hard to trace all the channels through which the information arrives.

It may be argued that privacy only protects people who have something to hide. In this sense, employees should not worry about the likelihood that monitoring them on social networks may cause deployment. If employees do not do anything illegal, it means that they should feel safe and not fear being monitored in social networks. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks expose individual information to scrutiny by employers. Biased and unscrupulous employers may use the same information that is to the employee’s disadvantage. It is also not possible to prove this. If an employer is racist, he or she can successfully gather information about the race of an employee in a social network. Therefore, there is a likelihood that employees may suffer unfair treatment just because of the personal information they have exposed in the Internet.  It may go unpunished since it is hard to prove that the employers have used personal information gathered on social networks against the employees. As a matter of fact, the author argues that the consequences of giving up personal information may be so distant from the act of disclosing it that individuals do not accurately perceive negative consequences. Rachel’s argument about privacy shows that privacy is a crucial aspect of an employee’s life.

 This case raises several questions such as the extent to which employees should be monitored. An issue of concern is also whether employees may use a company name in their social networks. Employees should also be cautious of the information they upload about companies they work in. They should be keen not to trade company’s secrets. Firms in the United States have added the social media policy to their employment terms. They have also hired additional staff to monitor their employees. Scrutiny of their privacy concerning emails and social networks is given some consideration. It ensures that workers do not waste company’s time on social networks instead of using their time productively. Some organizations subscribe to various services in order to investigate their employees.

In some cases, employees are not necessarily monitored by their employers. Instead, employees are monitored by customers of the business premise. If information uploaded by employees on social networks is viewed by the employer as unpleasant and it may tarnish the name of the business, employers sometimes consider firing these employees. It is a morally upright reason to fire employees due to the evidence found in social networks. In one instance, a news reporter in North Carolina scrutinized the status updates of teachers in a school. There were several updates that were controversial. It looked as if some teachers were idle during work hours. One teacher was sacked from employment because of her update; ‘’Chillin with my niggas” and because of a suggestive comment to a female friend on a photo where this teacher did not wear a shirt. The deployment of this teacher was on moral grounds and is justified, in my opinion.  Other teachers were deployed for comments such as: “I am feeling pissed off my students” or “I am teaching in the most remote place in Charlotte”. Reasons given by employers for the deployment of such employees are sometimes rational and extremely sensible. Therefore, employers may fire an employee whose opinions on social networks evoke negative publicity for the company or business premise.

Another case that is related to social networks is the case of Ms Johnson who was a worker at BRIXX restaurant. This lady was fired because of a Facebook status update after she was pissed off by a customer who occupied the restaurant’s table for five hours and left only a five dollar tip. According to her Facebook privacy settings, she had not allowed her co-workers to view her updates. In fact, her updates were only visible to her close friends and family members. Despite this measure, the company fired her. Their argument was that she had violated the social media policy of the organization. According to the organization, employees should be outstanding ambassadors and they should not spread ill opinions about their company or employers. This circumstance may be criticized because her status update was not visible to the public. The restaurant she works at should be sued for the violation of privacy. The degree of damage that this status update could cause to the organization was almost nil, especially considering that this employee had adjusted her privacy settings on Facebook. Therefore, it is an immoral act to sack an employee the way it happened in the case of Miss Johnson. The justifications of the company are irrational, in my opinion, since they did not include the extent of the damage that the employee’s post on Facebook would cause to the company.

The case of Ashley Payne was similar to the one of the Brixx Restaurant. In this case, Ms Payne was forced to resign with allegations that her Facebook page displayed immoral behavior. She had snaps where she was taking alcohol and using abusive language, for instance, “Crazy Bitch Bingo”. The controversial issue with her case was that she had also modified her privacy settings on Facebook. She ensured that no student or parent could access her Facebook personal information. School officials argued that her page promoted the use of alcohol and profane language. In this circumstance, it is not moral to deploy her from employment, in my opinion. Information shared by a third party should not be used against employees. Before employers deploy employees, they should consider all the factors surrounding the case when they upload sensitive information on social networks (Gossett, 2011). It is also necessary for these practitioners to examine a guilty or criminal intent behind the evidence they use to incriminate these workers with. In cases when the employee’s password protects his/her Facebook personal information, the use of information from the third parties is usually considered. Information from the third parties like in cases of Ms Johnson and Ms Payne may be immoral. People who may have a grudge against an employee may consider to use personal information to blackmail him/her. A threat to disclose employee’s private affairs to his or her employer may be used to terrorize this employee. Therefore, law should protect employees from the violation of their privacy. Employers also need to take into consideration that employees are human beings and that they have some affairs outside their work issues.

Conclusion

It is undoubtedly vivid that privacy is extremely difficult to protect, especially in the today’s IT-configured society. Business people are often too strict on their employees causing job losses due to the irrational violation of their privacy. Issues surrounding the deployment from work should be reviewed. Reviewed policies should include the source of information and possible measures taken by employees to protect themselves from the leakage of their personal information. All these factors should be considered to avoid wrongful incrimination of employees who are utterly innocent. Policy makers of social networks should provide individuals with compete freedom to control their privacy. Employers should also accord reasonable amounts of privacy to their employees in social networks.

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