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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ethics of Employee Surveillance in the Workplace

Ethics of Employee Surveillance in the Workplace
Because of the possibility that the employees themselves could engage in illegal or unethical activities that could cause harm to other co-workers and damage the reputation of the organization, employee surveillance has already become necessary at present. However, there has to be ethical aspects that need to be considered to ensure that the implementation of the employee surveillance can be effective.

First, it is important that the employees are informed about the decision of the management to implement employee surveillance. The reasons for this have to be clearly explained to the employees so that they will be able to clearly understand why it needs to be done. It will be unfair for the employees to just go to work and eventually realize that they are already being monitored without their consent or without being informed properly. This is a violation of their right to privacy and is a sign of disrespect to them. Thus, it is best that the management must organize meetings so that they can properly explain their decision to implement the employee surveillance (Kizza 149). These meetings will also provide the opportunity for the employees to voice out their concerns and issues about the employee surveillance plan. They will have the chance to clarify certain issues that they are confused about so that they can be assured that their right to privacy will not be abused once the employee surveillance plan gets implemented. The management needs to be patient to the employees and their questions because they are the ones who will really get affected by the employee surveillance. It is important to remember that this is something new for them, so the management must be responsible enough to explain the employee surveillance well enough to eliminate the fears and worries of the employees that could negatively affect their performance.

Once the management has already been able to explain to the employees the employee surveillance plan and obtained their approval, it is time to establish the policies and rules of the employee surveillance plan. It is important that there are clear policies that are established because will serve as the guide for the implementation of the employee surveillance. These policies will provide information as to the rules of the employee surveillance, the areas in the workplace where surveillance will be done and the penalties for employees who will be caught doing illegal or unethical activities (Wines 280). The employees must be given the opportunity to make suggestions in terms of the policies and rules that will be implemented. If these suggestions are valid and reasonable, the management must not hesitate to incorporate them into the employee surveillance plan. After all, the employees are the ones who will be monitored, so the management must be considerate in the suggestions of the employees and must not make the implementation of the employee surveillance very restrictive that it will already have a detrimental impact on the performance of the employees. The employee surveillance cannot be the main reason for the poor performance of the employees. If this is ethically implemented, the employees will be motivated to work because they know that their safety and security will be assured within the workplace. 

Lastly, the management has to use the best technologies for the employee surveillance to ensure its success. There has to be a sufficient budget allocation for this program so that the monitoring process can be very effective over the long term (O'Sullivan 215). CCTV cameras are usually the most common technologies being used for employee surveillance, and so the management needs to be willing to spend money to acquire such technologies and integrate them into the operations of the organization.

Kizza, Joseph. Ethical and Social Issues in the Information Age. New York, NY: Springer, 2010.
O'Sullivan, Patrick. Business Ethics. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012.
Wines, William. Ethics, Law, and Business. New York, NY: Routledge, 2006.

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