DSST Business Ethics and Society-Study Guide 2

That distinction formed the basis for the courts

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messages usually are stored by cell phone companies and the employer does not directly pay for their storage. That distinction formed the basis for the court’s decision. On December 14, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the 9th Circuit decision. The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in 2010. Can employers use video monitoring in the workplace? For the most part, yes. Video monitoring is a commonplace method of deterring theft, maintaining security and monitoring employees. For example, a bank may utilize video monitoring to prevent or collect evidence on a robbery. Employers may also use cameras to monitor employee productivity and prevent internal theft. Currently, federal law does not prevent video monitoring even when the employee does not know or consent to being monitored. Are there situations where an employer cannot use video cameras? In some instances, courts have upheld employee privacy. Specifically, courts have sided with employee privacy in instances where the monitoring has been physically invasive, such as hidden cameras in a locker room or bathroom. There are some state laws that have restrictions on where, how and why an employer may videotape employees. Labor unions may negotiate limitations on video recordings of unionized workers. What about employer's promises regarding e-mail and other workplace privacy issues. Are they legally binding?
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Not necessarily. Usually, when an employer states a policy regarding any issue in the workplace, including privacy issues, that policy is legally binding. Policies can be communicated in various ways: through employee handbooks, via memos, and in union contracts. For example, if an employer explicitly states that employees will be notified when telephone monitoring takes place, the employer generally must honor that policy. There are usually exceptions for investigations of wrong-doing. Are there any laws that deal with workplace privacy? Currently there are very few laws regulating employee monitoring. Can my employer make me take a drug test? Although employers may have the right to ask job applicants to submit to drug testing , the law restricts employers’ rights to drug test their current employees. Drug testing is not required under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. The majority of employers across the United States are not required to test, and many state and local governments have statutes that limit or prohibit workplace testing, unless required by state or federal regulations for certain jobs. On the other hand, most private employers have the right to test for a wide variety of substances. Random drug testing is permitted in some industries, including the transportation industry. Similarly, employees engaged in safety- sensitive or security-sensitive jobs (nuclear reactor workers, refinery workers, peace officers, and customs agents, for example) may be subjected to random testing.
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