Employee privacy: Work station or PlayStation?

Press Releases

10 Jan 2012

Andrea Broughton, Principal Research Fellow at IES, will join speakers from Eversheds to conduct a seminar examining organisations’ privacy and communications policies, and how they can be brought into line with developments in technology and media. The briefings will take place in locations around the UK between 17 January and 1 March 2012.

Social media have quickly permeated working life, and employers must be alert to misuse at every stage. But electronic communications, surveillance technology and flexible working have not changed the legal principles that govern the employment relationship: there has always been a tension between the employer’s right to regulate conduct and the employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Every day of the week, someone is breaching privacy laws by careless and casual comment, in permanent form, using their employer’s IT infrastructure. Aimed at HR professionals, in-house employment lawyers and directors with strategic responsibility for risk. This briefing will cover the steps employers can take to mitigate risk, including when employers can implement polices concerning activities outside the workplace.

The seminar will cover the following, and more:

  • striking a balance between work and play… and time theft
  • using social media profiles or credit histories in hiring decisions
  • whistlebloggers and cyber-smearing
  • employers’ use of surveillance tools, including GPS, CCTV, key stroke monitors, and e-mail/internet checkers
  • the use of social media in collective disputes
  • are your privacy policies keeping pace with the ever connected ways of the modern workforce?

Andrea led the research team behind the recently published Acas research paper, Workplaces and Social Networking: The Implications for Employment Relations, which informs Acas new guidance in this area.

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