Corey Ciocchetti, Employee Monitoring: Emerging Technologies & Contemporary Issues
Comment by: Eileen Ridley
Workshop draft abstract:
This project focuses on employment law, modern technology and the monitoring of employees in the private workplace arena. Today, the vast majority of employers monitor some form of their employees’ e-mail, phone calls, voicemails, instant messages, Internet surfing, workplace activities or offsite, non work-related activities. United States law allows, and often approves, of such monitoring. Employers argue that such surveillance is necessary to: (1) avoid legal liability based on inappropriate activities (i.e., Internet gambling) at work and (2) increase employee effectiveness. Employees and privacy advocates, on the other hand, argue that monitoring has become excessively intrusive and that monitoring invades individual privacy, and thereby, decreases workplace morale. Tensions rise when excessive monitoring creates a work environment where employees are sneaking in “unapproved” activities during work hours. Unfortunately, the United States legal system is poorly equipped to deal with the advances in technology driving sophisticated employee monitoring. This article details the advanced technology being implemented and proposes a modified legal structure whereby the law limits the amount and type of monitoring granted to employers. The argument is made for a balanced approach that does not excessively hinder workplace efficiency but allows employees to feel more comfortable in the workplace.