When it comes to privacy it can hard to figure out what is the right thing to do. This is especially true if you are someone who employs other people. When you are talking about the everyday standard of living, issues of privacy are fairly easy. You try to make sure that the government can protect you without having too much intrusion in your daily life. You do not want to live in a nanny state but you also do not want to feel totally alone as well. And most governments try hard to keep that balance but in a lot of cases they go wrong. They overstep their boundaries in the name of national security and then all of the sudden all hell breaks loose.
But when it comes to your business and employing other people you are the one who makes the rules when it comes to privacy. It is your government and you are the one who has to make the laws. The government has a little bit of say of what you can and cannot do but for the most part it is you who are making up the rules. The only thing that you have to be sure of is that everyone knows the rules as soon as they walk through the door. If anyone is caught breaking the rules you do not want them to have a legal case by saying that you did not explain to them what the expectations of privacy was around the place. When it comes to the workplace there is no expectation of freedom of speech. A person is allowed to say what they want without the fear of going to jail and you are allowed to fire the person the same way.
Privacy rules are there to make the office civilized but there are also other reasons why they are enforced as well. And one of the reasons why privacy laws are enforced is because of security issues. There are several ways the privacy rules in your office place affect the security of it as well. That is why you have to make sure that you let your employees know upfront what can be checked later on down the line.
For example a popular and controversial topic when it comes to the workplace is whether the employer has the right to search through your email account that you use at work. And many times the employer will tell you upfront that they do check emails from time to time. And the reason why they do that is because of security reasons. They do not want anyone being able to send out work secrets. So they will check email accounts and make sure that nothing like that is happening. Another controversial topic when it comes to workplace rules is whether they are allowed to check your electronic devices or not. In a lot of high security places they will do inspection of your phone and laptop. There are people who complain about this but again they want to be sure that no is able to sneak out anything that is top secret and could hurt the company later on down the line.
So as you can see you cannot expect the same level of privacy at work that you get at home. There are some circumstances where privacy needs to be breached so that the office is able to stay safe. Just make sure that your employees know about it ahead of time.
photo: Eva Abreu