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Privacy Rights vs. Employee Tracking

Evening Edition

Aired 4/25/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Dan Eaton, San Diego business law attorney, Seltzer, Caplan, McMahon & Vitekin


As more and more San Diegans return to the job force, they're finding the nature of the workplace is changing.

To increase productivity, many business are monitoring their employees like never before. From video cameras to GPS to reading email and social media accounts. In addition, software has been developed to track words being typed on your computer keyboard. But how much tracking is too much by your employer? When does monitoring employees cross over an employees right to privacy?

A two-part report in the Los Angeles Times explored how employers are tracking and monitoring employees both in the workplace and out.

Dan Eaton, San Diego business attorney says while these methods may improve productivity, it can also strain the employer-employee relationship.

One form of tracking involves the use of GPS or, global positioning systems. Delivery trucks and company vehicles are being equipped with them allowing employers to check an employees whereabouts and cut down on lag time in between deliveries.

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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | April 25, 2013 at 12:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm without sympathy for people who complain that they are being monitored as they use Twitter and Facebook for their personal fun and games while at work. Unless they are getting paid to waste time on social media, they shouldn't be using it whether or not they are on their own personal devices or not. Time has value and nothing is less productive than someone making personal phone calls or updating their Facebook page or twittering away on the latest erroneous gossip feed. They can also manage to be disruptive to coworkers and clients. Take it out the door and do your personal stuff on your personal time. Enough people seriously want to work; no employer wants or needs to tolerate someone who doesn't value the employer's time and equipment. On the other hand, I think it is outrageous that employers now think they can keep employees on call 24-hours-a-day because of electronic leashes. When did common sense and respect disappear?

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Avatar for user 'CHUPACABRA'

CHUPACABRA | April 26, 2013 at 7:48 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Personal SNS account or your blog site can be much referrential to some employers to know more about that prospective employee, and get to know things that aren't normally taked about between them in other work settings, as mentioned it can function also as an indicator what that employee might be up to during break times or in working periods they are supposed to be doing the job. However, o nthe other side of the coin, this also means employees are well aware of what will be shown to the boss, and make each of those employees more sensitive, and weary of taking care of their privacy accounts on these sites; some possible concern might be, fabricating the information or personal qualities shown for othres like employers get to read. Imagine I have to worry about what sites I'd be more cautious to tag on my blog, download pictures or link that won't produce more favorable impression to the employer, and it just horrible to imagine I have to worry about these things! There ins't always a positive side on this apporach I believe and honestly I think it wasn't such a smart idea for them to demand employees.

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Avatar for user 'rcmpvern'

rcmpvern | July 29, 2013 at 7:53 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"To increase productivity, many business are monitoring their employees like never before"

This is closer to the truth:
Because they can,
many businesses are monitoring their employees like never before.

The availability of inexpensive GPS systems and devices, along with the erosion of US citizen's rights and their knowledge of Amendments other than the Second, and the packing of all levels of courts leading up to the Supreme Court by the GOP since the Powell Memo, are the reasons employees feel entitled to this.

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Avatar for user 'rcmpvern'

rcmpvern | July 29, 2013 at 9:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

employers feel entitled to this.

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