As with other types of monitoring, employers protest that monitoring employee e-mail can help determine that a particular employee might be planning to carry out violent acts within the workplace, or may indicate that an employee is using the computer network for excessive personal tasks. However, critics of this technique argue that employers should base their decisions on employee performance, not monitoring, and that reading an employee's e-mail is tantamount to listening to an employee's phone conversations despite the good intention of the employer.
Telephone monitoring is also becoming increasingly common. Telemarketers and customer support personnel are often well aware that their phone calls may be monitored, and those who call these individuals are used to the warning that their conversation may be monitored in order to ensure better customer service. However, such monitoring can also be used to track whether personal phone calls are being made, and whether the employee is offering defamatory or even simple negative information about the company or its products (Deck 6).
Companies have long tracked long distance phone calls made by employees on company phones in order to recover the costs from employees. For many companies, this is a simple way to let employees know that while personal phone calls are permitted--even long distance ones--the employee is expected to exercise reasonable judgment and to pay the company for the call after it is completed. Although long distance rates have declined significantly in recent years, the ability to use an employer's commercial discount on long distance calls--even though the employee would have to reimburse the company later--was long considered one of the perquisites of working for a large organization.
Video surveillance is not new to the workplace, and has been commonplace in a variety of settings. Video surveillance cameras have long been installed in banks and convenien...
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