An employee's right to privacy – does it still exist?

An employee's right to privacy – does it still exist?

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

26 May 2015

Two weeks ago, a story came to light that threw the question of employee privacy into the news.

A woman in Central California claims that she was fired from her job after she uninstalled the work-management app Xora from her company iPhone. The app tracks the user’s move 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even when the employee is out of work hours and enjoying their personal time.

The woman’s boss admitted to her that employees would be monitored while off duty and “bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone“. When the employee complained about his situation and told her employer that the situation was illegal, he allegedly told her that she should just tolerate it.

In the last few years, there have been an increasing number of stories like these – and of even stranger infringements of rights, such as potential employers asking for a candidate’s Facebook password and access to their other social media accounts. Whilst it seems that no one in their right mind would allow such invasions of privacy, the threat of losing your job can drive people to give up far more than they really should.

Thankfully, an employee’s right to privacy does still exist – despite what some employers would have you believe. US workers can find out about their privacy rights through the American Civil Liberties Union, British workers can look on gov.co.uk, Canadians can find the information on priv.gc.ca and, in fact, employees the world over should be able to find information about workplace privacy rights on their government’s website.

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