Information Screening: When Should HRs Stop Crossing the Line of Employee Privacy?

June 5, 20172:38 pm1004 views

Be it verbal evidence about personal information, paper files about medical records, or other electronic documents related to confidential employee data, it is imperative for organisations to protect employee privacy. Employers should be cautious in dealing with and collecting information from employees, such as to not cross the thin line of breach of employee privacy.

For example, when conducting a recorded job interview, it is crucial for employers to pay attention to interviewee’s consent about how the information collected, retained and used to serve a particular purpose. In addition, employees also possess the right to know if this information collated will be disseminated or forwarded to third parties or not.

Then the question pops up, to what extent can employers delve into details of information from employees, without crossing the line of their personal data privacy?

Rapid development of new technologies has raised concerns on employee data privacy and need for policies to ensure employee data is safe and protected. Gone are those days when employers used to hire private detectives to monitor their employees’ suspicious workings. Today social media has made it much more easy and convenient for employers to spy on their employees’ movements using machines and sophisticated tools. This is also legal.

Given the extensive use of laptops and portable devices such as smartphone and tablets at work, there continues to be debate on whether employers can access employee personal data in those devices. Not to mention, the growing trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) at the workplace has created a grey area for employers to differentiate between personal and work-related information.

Be it for disciplinary or security purposes, employers should handle information screening carefully and implement best practices to ensure confidentiality. Here are several guidelines for HRs to conduct effective employee monitoring:

See: 4 Ways HR Can Champion Data Security

  1.    Surveillance cameras and audiotaping

To monitor both company’s property and employee’s activity, employers have the right to install surveillance cameras around the office and even corporate vehicles. However, it should be noted that these cameras should be placed only in public and common areas. You should never place CCTV cameras into private areas such as restrooms or locker rooms.

Make sure that you comply with the common law and practice that regulates and restricts how companies can conduct video taping and audiotaping.

  1.    Internet and social media monitoring

Just at the tips of your finger, you will know your employees’ Google search history. Be it work-related stuff, emails, or social media login, you can monitor what your employees are doing all day long on the internet. At some point, this will help you get notified if something unusual or suspicious activity is carried out by your employees.

For example, if your employee has been searching for a ‘developer vacancy’ and ‘how to write resignation letter’ for past few weeks, then upon discovering their search history, you will learn that your employee intends to leave soon. When you learn about this, you can take necessary actions accordingly.

  1.    Company’s device tracking methodology

When the company owns the devices and sets up the network system, it is easy for you to monitor what your employees are accessing on their devices. You will gain access to all information stored in the system, including employees’ emails and passwords. However, this privilege does not mean you can intrude into employees’ privacy by digging into their personal files.

Read also: New Addition of Cybersecurity Veteran Tony Chew to V-Key’s Executive Team

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)