Lothar Determann and Robert Sprague, Intrusive Monitoring: Employee Privacy Expectations are Reasonable in Europe, Destroyed in the United States
Comment by: Vince Polley
Workshop draft abstract:
In the increasingly global economy and workplace, the difference in workplace privacy expectations and protections in the United States and Europe stand out. In the United States, privacy protections depend on whether employees have reasonable privacy expectations, but employers are relatively free to destroy actual expectations through notices. In Europe, workplace privacy is not conditioned on employee privacy expectations, but is protected as a matter of public policy. Thus, in Europe – where reasonable privacy expectations are not a condition to privacy protection – employees can actually and reasonably expect workplace privacy, and in the United States – where privacy protections depend on reasonable privacy expectations – employees cannot expect much privacy in practice. Our article will examine the underlying policy reasons and legal frameworks that control the extent to which employers may monitor their employees, including implications for multinational employers and employees in the United States and Europe.