1. Explain where an employee can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace.
Employees can reasonably expect to have privacy in the workplace as it pertains to issues such as personal belongings including briefcases or handbags, telephone conversations and voice mail, personally addressed e-mail, personal storage lockers, and personally addressed mail. They can also expect to have privacy when it comes to their personnel records, the use and maintenance of their social security numbers, medical records and background screenings. Nevertheless, the employee's right to privacy is extremely restricted regarding computer, internet, and email use of the employer owned systems. Telephone calls and voicemails are subjected to employer monitoring.
There are laws that create a right to privacy for the employee such as: 1) The Privacy Act which applies to employee information in federal institutions, 2) The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) applies to employee information in federal works, undertakings, and businesses. At the same time, it's normal that working for someone will mean giving up some privacy. Employers need basic information about their employees and have to be able to ensure that work is being done efficiently and safely.
Employers should ensure that the information they collect for one purpose is not used for an unrelated purpose without the employee's consent.
A good privacy practice in the workplace is not just about grievances, or lawsuits. It is not even about being protected by law or contract; the workplace should foster a culture where privacy is valued and respected.
2. Explain whether it makes a difference if an employee is in an open area or in an enclosed office.