The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy

Safe Practices to Minimize Conflict, Confusion, and Litigation

William S. Hubbartt

Publisher: Amacom, 1998, 270 pages

ISBN: 0-8144-0357-3

Keywords: Human Resources

Last modified: July 8, 2021, 5:19 p.m.

Drug testing… background checks… E-mail intercept… workplace searches… employee surveillance… polygraph tests… even monitoring or regulating off-the-job conduct. Are these unscrupulous, big-brotheresque invasions of privacy? Or are they necessary counteroffensives in the war against such troubling workplace occurrences as violence, theft, drug abuse, poor performance, and other damaging behaviors? This complex question is of immense importance to employers — especially in a country and an age where the rights of the individual are held sacred, many believe in a constitutional "right to privacy," and an epidemic of lawsuits rages with no end in sight

The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy takes an in-depth look at this highly controversial (and emotionally charged) issue. It considers the basic conflict between an employer's right to manage and an employee's right to privacy, discussing such subjects as: random drug testing, searches and surveillance, the release of workplace information to creditors and future employers, monitoring employee use of E-mail and the Internet, using medical records in making employment-related decisions, checking criminal or driving records, and much more.

Filled with anecdotal news stories, case examples, interpretations of import court decisions, highlights of applicable laws, policy guidelines, checklists, and sample policies, The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy will help you and your company:

  • Decide what can and cannot be done to safeguard your business interests from employee theft, drug or alcohol abuse, accidents caused by employees, unauthorized uses of property, and other problematic behavior
  • Learn what federal and state privacy laws are (and aren't) in place
  • Avoid costly litigation — or win your case if you do wind up in court
  • Develop clearly defined policies that stay within legal and ethical bounds, help prevent problems, reduce confusion, and promote employee cooperation
  • Minimize conflict with employees
  • Protect your assets without negatively affecting employee productivity or morale

Employers walk a fine line when it comes to trying to protect their business concerns and not violate their employees' right to privacy. The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy arms them with the ammunition they need to protect themselves and walk that line — without stumbling into a potential minefield of lawsuits.

  1. Privacy Rights: The New Employee Relations Battlefield
    • Preemployment Tests
    • New Information Technologies
    • Release of Private Information
    • Monitoring Employees and Their Performance
    • After-Hours Activities
    • Privacy Law and Company Policy
    • Case Examples Illustrate Lessons Learned
    • Conclusion
  2. Why Employers Pry
    • Problems Facing Employers
    • Taking Care of Business
  3. Privacy Law Primer
    • The Hierarchy of Laws
    • Common-Law Privacy Invasion
    • Constitutional Privacy Protections
    • A Crash Course in Federal Privacy Laws
    • State Privacy Laws
    • Appendix
  4. Don't Judge the Book by Its Cover: Preemployment Inquiries, Background Checks, and Nepotism Policies
    • What Form of Birth Control Do You Use? and Other Inappropriate Preemployment Inquiries
    • What Former Employers Say: A Look at Reference Checking
    • Is There a Skeleton in the Closet? Find Out with Background Checks
    • Doin' Time on the Rocks: How Employers Consider Arrest and Conviction records
    • Pay Your Bills on Time? When Employers Conduct Credit Checks
    • Let's See Your I.D.: A Look at Work Document Requirements
    • All in the Family: Employer Attitudes toward Nepotism Policies
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  5. Truth Serum: Medical, Drug, Psychological, and Skill Testing
    • Take a Deep Breath: Employer Use of Physical Exams
    • The Drug Testing Controversy
    • What Makes Him Tick? How Employers Use Psychological Testing
    • But Can he Type? A Look at Skill Testing
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  6. What's That You're Wearing? Enforcing Dress Codes and Controlling Conduct
    • Show a Little Thigh: The Ticklish Issue of Employee Dress and Grooming Standards
    • Wanna Buy Some Cookies? Controlling Solicitation and Distribution
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  7. Living in a Glass House: A Look at privacy in the Electronic Workplace
    • Sending Secrets on a Postcard: E-mail Privacy Concerns
    • Always on Call: Paging System Privacy
    • Surfin' the Web: Employer Control of Employee Internet Use
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  8. Personal, Private, and Confidential: An Employer's Access to and Release of Workplace Information
    • I'm Calling to check a Reference On …: How Employers Handle Employment Verification
    • Protecting Privacy of Personnel Records
    • Between Me and My Doctor: Keeping Employee Medical Records Confidential
    • Passwords, Privacy, and Productivity: Computerized Business Records
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  9. Let's Look in Your Drawers: Monitoring Performance and Conducting Searches, Surveillance, and Investigations on the Job
    • Counting Keystrokes: Monitoring Employee Performance
    • We're Listening: Trends in Telephone Monitoring
    • Under the Interrogation Spotlight: A Look at Conducting Internal Investigations
    • Wired for Truth: Polygraph Exams and Investigations
    • He's Faking It! Investigating Workers' Compensation Fraud
    • Nosy or Necessary? A Look at Workplace Searches
    • We're Watching You: Surveillance of Employees and Customers
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  10. My Time, My Life: A Look at Employer Regulation of Off-Duty Conduct
    • Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go: Employer Response to Criminal Misconduct
    • Need Extra Cash? When Secondary Employment Conflicts with the Regular Job
    • A Smoldering Issue: Employer Control of Smoking
    • Get a Life: Employer Regulation of Employee Dating and Other Nonwork Activities
    • Sexual Preference, Sexual Orientation, and Other Alternative Lifestyles
    • Saints and Sinners: Tips for Employer Accommodation of Religious Beliefs
    • Summary
    • Appendix
  11. Emerging Issues in Workplace Privacy
    • The Right to Medical Privacy
    • Telecommuting from the Home Office
    • Web Watching
    • The Encryption Debate
    • Growing Government regulation
    • High-Tech Tools Create New Privacy Questions
    • In Conclusion
    • Appendix


The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excrement * (1 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:47 a.m.

Totally geared to Americans. Avoid at all costs.


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