Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 175–180 | Cite as

Management and Legal Issues Regarding Electronic Surveillance of Employees in the Workplace

  • David Halpern
  • Patrick J. Reville
  • Donald GrunewaldEmail author


Since the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and on the Pentagon in the United States, concerns over security issues have been at an all-time high in this country. Both state and federal governments continue to discuss legislation on these issues amid much controversy. One key concern of both employers and employees is the extent that employers, espousing a “need to know” mentality, continue to expand their capability and implementation of surveillance of employees in the workplace. With the technology typically growing faster than the speed of legislation, protective or permissive, the management and legal issues involved in electronic monitoring of employee communications in the workplace, are and well should be on the agenda for discussion of every management and legal team in American business today. Companies have a legitimate right to protect their trade secrets from disclosure by disgruntled employees. Similarly, companies also have a duty to protect their good names and reputations from unauthorized employee communications with outside parties, and even other employees, that may damage them. It is also a prime duty of management to ensure, in their direction of their workforces, that the employees execute their responsibilities by working full time on their stated objectives. In this regard, any management that fails to oversee its workforce to ensure that employees are not expending valuable company time, for which they are being compensated, on personal business, including unauthorized communications, is remiss in its responsibilities to its shareholders. The company may see a reduction of the price of its shares in the marketplace if it does not protect the economic interests of its shareholders.


security issues surveillance of employees 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Halpern
    • 1
  • Patrick J. Reville
    • 2
  • Donald Grunewald
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.ManagementIona College, Ph.D., New York UniversityNew RochelleU.S.A.
  2. 2.Business LawIona College, Fordham UniversityNew RochelleU.S.A.
  3. 3.Strategic ManagementIona College, Harvard UniversityNew RochelleU.S.A.
  4. 4.WiltonU.S.A.

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