The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on privacy complications that can arise for employees when they use employer-issued technology:
ATLANTA — In an era of company-issued GPS-enabled smartphones and tablets, employers now have the technology to track workers’ every move from sunrise to bedtime.
Companies say tracking employees can be good for business. For example, it can help improve safety — ensuring that truckers drive safely and get the rest required by law. Tracking can also make companies more productive and competitive by monitoring performance and productivity. […]
But the capabilities also mean employers can also easily keep tabs on anyone from sales staff to office workers whether at work or at home.
That raises questions for the 21st-century working world: How much data should companies collect on where their employees are, and how should they use it? What about for an office employee or manager who handles work-related business and calls on nights and weekends, or has flexible hours and works from home? What should the parameters be, who sets the limits, and when and where is an employee entitled to privacy?
There are few laws and court cases to help companies or workers understand the limits, leaving some gray areas for protection of employees’ privacy.
Some companies say in their employee handbooks or policies that they have the right to conduct certain types of employee monitoring. That makes it less likely that monitoring could be considered an invasion or privacy.