Employee Surveillance/ Monitoring

I am a fairly new employee (private company) and I believe that I am being monitored by management as well as other employees on the same level as myself. I have overheard conversations discussing my HR information, including salary between mgmt and peers. Some conversations pertained to whether or not I should be fired. I have also heard numerous conversations detailing what I was doing throughout the day - so specific that unless I was being monitored via cameras, it would be impossible to know. It is creating a hostile environment. I have voiced concerns to my immediate supervisor (who claims to know nothing) a few times who is now going to formally involve HR. My problem is that unless these individuals admit to the conversations I have recounted - how it will it be proved? Also, isn't employee monitoring traditionally mandated by the HR department? So why would I even want to involve them? Can a company actually lie about whether or not surveillance is taking place?

1 answer  |  asked Mar 30, 2007 7:33 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Right of Privacy at Work?

Once again, employer conduct may be creating a "hostile environment" but that does not mean there is anything illegal about the conduct. Under the employment at will doctrine, an employer can be as nasty and unreasonable as it wants. A hostile environment becomes illegal only if it undertaken for an improper reason, for example, because of an employee's race, religion or gender.

Employees have no right of privacy in the workplace. You usage of computers, including e-mail, may be monitored, even down to the keystroke. You can be kept under constant observation. The only area where employers seem to run into some trouble has to do with toilets, but those cases usually indicated that the conduct was motivated by gender.

There is no requirement that employers have HR departments. And there are no rules saying that HR departments have to supervise employee monitoring.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Apr 2, 2007 12:05 PM [EST]

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