How to Understand Your Privacy Rights in the US Workforce

Your boss may think that they are always right and always have the last say. This is wrong but common in many workstations in the United States. Many Americans are harassed at their workplaces because they do not understand their privacy rights. Your right to privacy is protected under the employee rights. However, your boss may violate your privacy rights because of your lack information. Your days of ignorance are long gone, and you should make an effort of understanding your privacy rights at the workplace. Below are some facts you need to know.

See also: Top 10 Workers’ Rights in the Workplace

1. Personal Information

As an employee, you are often asked to provide information such as your medical status, health insurance, and disabilities information. Employers are refrained from releasing any information they find in your health records. Information in your medical records and personal files should be kept private and only released with your full knowledge.

2. Email and Internet Usage

As much as the company gives you unlimited access to the Internet, the law will not protect you if you are found using it for your personal use. Your employer has every legal right to track the websites you use and the power to block them as well. The Internet and computers in the office are meant for office work and any deviation from that is against the law.

3. Video Surveillance and Use of CCTV

Your employer may install CCTVs and video surveillance for security reasons. However, as an employee, you have the right to know the areas where the cameras have been installed. Installing cameras in sensitive areas such as changing rooms, toilets and storage lockers will be going against your privacy rights. Your employer should inform you about this; however, there are exceptions if they have to do this secretly.

4. Voicemail Messages and Phone Calls

Your employer may have access to your messages and calls at some point. However, the access should only happen with your full knowledge and consent, failure of which will be invading your personal space which is unacceptable. You have every legal right to be informed when your personal calls and messages are being tracked, regardless of where you are making them from. Your employer may face the wrath of the law if they breach any of these rules.

5. Unreasonable Searches

As an employee in the public sector, you are protected against invasive searches. Searches are only reasonable if they can be justified at the inception stage. Additionally, searches shouldn’t be excessively intrusive and should be related their objectives. If searches involve going through personal property such as personal cars, a police officer needs to be present during the exercise.

See also: Knowing Your Rights Concerning Wages and Hours in the US Workplace

A peaceful environment at places of work ensures you are productive and can give out your best. You shouldn’t live in a stressful environment at the expense of your happiness. If you feel your rights are being infringed, report the matter to the authorities or talk to a labor attorney to get more information on your rights.