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Private messages at work can be read by employers, says court

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posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 04:42 PM
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Whether or not the employer has the right to monitor communications and activities on their own equipment seems clear: they do.

But it should be made abundantly clear to the employee at the time of hiring that such surveillance can and will be occurring so they can avoid having their private matters pried into by employers.

Everyone has a life. Everyone has drama. Emergencies happen. Employees should have the right to deal with their own affairs without their employers meddling. And yes, some of those emergencies might actually be more important than worshiping the almighty dollar and doing the bidding of their slave masters. Some of those communications might have to happen during work hours, just out of necessity.

Corporations have too much power as it is. You can't tell me this "right" of theirs won't be used malevolently. You can't tell me some employers fail to disclose that they will be monitoring the private communications of their employees not solely to protect their business, but so that they can gather dirt on their employees and use it as another means to control them.




posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 04:48 PM
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a reply to: Blaine91555

Still, performance is key to advancement as it should be. A person who does just enough should not advance to their level of inadequacy. I recall in the 1980's reading an article about one of the biggest problems with large companies, was promoting people to a level they could not handle. Then they loose a person who was doing a very good job before they screwed up by not recognizing they had peaked.

It is called the "Peter Principal" advancing to the level of incompetency.

Unfortunately neither the person promoted, or the person promoting them, knows this has occurred, until the person is already in the position.

I am surrounded by these people daily, because their ego will not allow them to take a step backwards to a position were they would likely be exceptional. So they remain in a position where they perform poorly, and are seen as incompetent, by those that they are supposed to lead.

Taking a step back for a short time, to allow themselves the opportunity to gain the knowledge, or skills, that will be required at the next level, is the only way out of this kind of mess. Trying to stay in a position that you can't adequately manage, you use up way too much time, trying to fix, or cover up the constant flow of errors, and keep creating new messes.

There is no time available for self improvement when you are constantly ducking and weaving.

A good supervisor will recognize the problem, and will work shoulder to shoulder, with this employee until they are ready to fly solo, but too often the supervisor is in over their head as well, so can't help or out the wrongly promoted employee. The person becomes a perfect scapegoat for all of the failures of their supervisor, until they will have to be fired or they quit.

That is how that game is usually played.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 04:51 PM
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originally posted by: NewzNose
a reply to: sg1642

Orwell? Not at all.

Had an employee once who worked for 2 years. We installed new malware virus software for security and ran a test reporrt We found she has spend 80% of her worktime for 15 months shopping, emailing, taking online college courses, sending out resumes etc....all during company time and all while being paid. When confronted by her theft of work time, she said "So?" Without any remorse. And was fired promptly fired. She immediately tried to file unemployment but lost.

I am ok with my staff doing personal stuff at work during breaks and lunch, so much so, each one has a separate laptop running Linnux for the sole purpose of personal use.

This is excellent news!


The Orwell comment was more of a reference to the bottom of that slippery slope I was talking about.

I don't think it's a bad idea at all. If you're being paid to work then that is what you should be doing.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 04:56 PM
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a reply to: DanDanDat

An argument could very easily be made that the entrepreneur cannot afford to not have personal time.

A mistake that most Entrepreneurs make at some time, and many find out way too late, the cost of self cannibalization, in the growing of a lucrative and productive business.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 06:18 PM
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originally posted by: NightSkyeB4Dawn

It is called the "Peter Principal" advancing to the level of incompetency.


The Peter Principle had an antidote: Creative incompetence. The core idea is that you know where your level of incompetence is and stay below it by doing stuff preventing you from getting promoted. I've known many people, including myself, who surveyed the next promotional opportunity and decided not to pursue it, knowing it would be a disaster for everyone involved. I had a much happier and less stressful work life because of my decision.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 06:23 PM
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originally posted by: Sublimecraft
a reply to: sg1642

As an employer, let me break it down for you.

I do not pay individuals to engage in personal chat sessions on my dime, and especially on my hardware.

So, even if you are using your personal device, unless it's on your time (lunch breaks etc) then I should have a right to reprimand you, which may include anything from a verbal warning to a sobpoena to release data from your personal device - if that data was transmitted during working hours.

Now, and also, if you engage in rhetoric outside of working hours on social media which has a detrimental effect on my business, then the same rights should apply.

In other words, personal accountability starts with the individual, and his/her ego.


Not if it's on their device, it is not you property, you do not pay the bill and you are not on the contact.

You have no right to invade a persons privacy because they work for you, they still have rights as human beings.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 06:25 PM
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originally posted by: DanDanDat

originally posted by: Sublimecraft
a reply to: sg1642

As an employer, let me break it down for you.

I do not pay individuals to engage in personal chat sessions on my dime, and especially on my hardware.

So, even if you are using your personal device, unless it's on your time (lunch breaks etc) then I should have a right to reprimand you, which may include anything from a verbal warning to a sobpoena to release data from your personal device - if that data was transmitted during working hours.

Now, and also, if you engage in rhetoric outside of working hours on social media which has a detrimental effect on my business, then the same rights should apply.

In other words, personal accountability starts with the individual, and his/her ego.


On what grounds do you feel you have a right to your employees personal data (on their personal deceives) simply because the data was created while the employee should have been doing work for you?

I can certainly understand reprimanded and terminations for said employee not conducting your business when you have paid them to do so; but I don’t see the reach that you are entitled to information created when they should have been working for you.

Employment is a contract to buy labor form an individual; if they do not deliver that labor you clearly have recourse to terminate their employment or reprimand them. Employment is not a contract to where you OWN the employee during the hours you are employing them and so you do not have a right to all they may produce during that time.

Same goes for personal conduct outside the time of employment. You could most certainly decided to terminate or reprimand an employee if their personal conduct hurts your business. But once again you do not own any part of your employee and so do not have rights to their personal data outside of the place of employment. The only exception I could think of here is if you could provide evidence that they are steeling your Intellectual Property. Than you could sue them to recover the data.


I agree.

Many employers feel entitled to not only control what time a person rises in the morning, but to control any aspect of their employees they can get away with.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: sg1642

If it's the company and computer servers belong to the company..absolutely they can.
Its also standard practice to inform employees about electronic communication are corporate property and subject to no reasonable expectation of privacy....unless it's ones privately owned tab, phone or laptop.
edit on 13-1-2016 by mysterioustranger because: splng



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: Sublimecraft
You lost me at personal device.

Company equipment great. My equipment, means not company. That had nothing to do with time theft or anything else. This is exactly why company's strictly enforce their equipment only policies even what you have something better.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 07:24 PM
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originally posted by: IslandOfMisfitToys
a reply to: Sublimecraft

Says the guy during business hours........

Fine for you but not your employees?


That's rather presumptuous of you...

1. I am on holidays and have been since before Xmas and will be until mid-Feb.
2. When I do post on ATS, I don't post during my working hours. (I'm in Australia, ATS is time-stamped through US time, not my local time)
3. I don't post anything on ATS (or any other social media) that I would not allow my employer to view.

I don't adhere to a "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy with my team.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 07:28 PM
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a reply to: Sublimecraft

Having been an employer as well as employee (working on computer), I would argue with you on that.

In both cases, I have been focusing on maximising productivity and working all work hours fully focusing on the particular task is not productive in both cases, especially when the work requires either repetitive action or mentally solving complex problems. In order to maximise the performance one needs to rest after every certain period, which is individual. Otherwise the actions/the thinking slows down and in the end, one achieves less as the performance drops.

For example, I personally made around 15-20 pause from work every hour(2 times 7-10 minutes), either chatting with co-workers / friends on social-media, going for a short walk to get some fresh air or just surf around the internet (read ATS for example
). My main goal was achieving a situation where I would feel fully rest every second that I work. I worked roughly 20 minutes in a row, then made the pause and so on. In the end the results, my performance was superior to situation where I worked non-stop until lunch-break and then till the evening. Working less and smart brings the results.

In the end, what matters the most to business is results. What is the point of metaphorically the boss having a whip on his hands, requiring the employees to focus 100% of work time on the work (after all what does he pay for (right?)), but having the employees being tired the whole time. The attention span of an adult is roughly 20 minutes, even less for many. One can make oneself trying to focus after that period, but the performance drops significantly. Just as a tired person is physically slower, the same way a tired person is mentally slower.

I personally see taking breaks as a necessity for employees as well as a win situation for the employer. A win-win. Employees feel more energised /healthier while the employer gets better results-

Although I would say that the line between work-rest balance is blurry and many would take advantage of it. Although in the end, what matters for me is results. As long as the results keep coming (by deadline!), continue whatever you are doing.




TO OP:

I personally find this decision very disturbing. Private messages are private, whether they are sent on work computer during work time or during personal time. How can the employer know when the message was sent - there is no filter that only shows messages sent during the 9-5 period on Monday to Friday. Chat history does exist and he can see even he chats sent during personal time. Many people do have personal email account mixed with their work mail account by filters after all... The employer might just use it to snoop on the employee, look whom he or she talks in social media, whether they talk about work (private conversations with friends outside work hours)

I personally would suggest that there should be some program which counts the time one is actively using certain website without seeing what the person does there. If the company does not use Facebook, the owner would see the period that one used the site, but not what he did there.


edit on 13-1-2016 by Cabin because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 07:29 PM
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originally posted by: Iamthatbish
a reply to: Sublimecraft
You lost me at personal device.

Company equipment great. My equipment, means not company. That had nothing to do with time theft or anything else. This is exactly why company's strictly enforce their equipment only policies even what you have something better.


Unless you are using your personal device during (or after work) with the intention of posting information on social media that is company sensitive or could have an effect on my companys reputation - we have very strict IT compliance guidelines in the company I work for - which is a US based multi-national organization and it's a condition of your employment that you not engage in online discussions (on any device) to the detriment of the company.

I hope that clears it up because I would not give a ship what you posted online using your own device, as long as it did not impact negatively on my company.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 07:54 PM
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a reply to: Sublimecraft

So basically none of your employees can say how horrible of a boss you are on Facebook or you'll take their personal property?

Glad I don't work for you........



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: Cabin
As it is in any job, stress and concentration levels are different for different tasks and situations.

It is not unusual in my line of work for the simplest of tasks, the ones that people do multiple times a day without giving it a thought, something as common as a telephone call, making or receiving, to end up being the most stressful and complex activity of my day.

Some situations can take a cosmic turn that may require several minutes, or more, to recover from, or allow you to return to an optimal level of mental performance. Some tasks require complete mental attention and focus, when doing those task I sometimes go into an almost total mental isolation. I block out almost everything and everyone around me. You have to actually physically touch me to bring me back.

If my job doesn't require my total concentration, them socialization and destressing becomes a very important part of my job. I don't think this would be so different in too many other work environments, unless of course, they are run by a slave master.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: IslandOfMisfitToys

Many companies have rules like that and many people if not all agree to it, check out the policy and procedures manual.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: thesaneone

Show a company policy that states if an employee says something negative about the employer on social media that the employer then has the right to subpoena the employee's personal property.

And if someone signed such a policy they are an idiot.



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 08:45 PM
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a reply to: Cabin

so your saying that you steal about, 2 to 2-3/4 a hour a day from your boss. or do you clock out?
so would you think that if they only paid you for 30 or 26.25 hrs fair? after all if you agreed to work 40 hrs a week and only actually do 26.25 worth of work.

in other words, lets say that you get paid 20 bucks a hr, and have a 40 hr time card. of that 40 hrs you only worked 26.25hrs and are getting paid for 13.75 hrs you actually didn't do any work or produce a product. that comes to 275 a week you got paid for not working or 1100.00 month. let's say you have 50 employees doing that, that's 55,000 dollars a month.

would you pay some one 20 bucks a hour for 40 hours a week to do work on lets say your home, or any thing and only get 26.25 out of them. and give them a extra 275 a week, or 1100 a month.

not me buddy, you be hitting the bricks in a heart beat.


edit on 13-1-2016 by hounddoghowlie because: (no reason given)

edit on 13-1-2016 by hounddoghowlie because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 08:57 PM
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a reply to: forkedtongue

My guess is that you are not now, ever have been, or will ever be successfully self-employed.




posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 09:05 PM
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a reply to: hounddoghowlie

It's obviously ok for people to steal from companies and corporations don't you know? As if there are different qualifiers for what theft is and isn't. This is not a grey area. Stealing is stealing and it doesn't make it right simply because a company has more money. If one disagrees with the companies and corporations they work for so much that they feel justified in thievery, perhaps it is time to find another job where you will feel like less of a victim.

And sorry... that wasn't all for you of course. I kind of got off on a tangent after the first sentence.


edit on 1/13/2016 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2016 @ 09:15 PM
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The # 1 reason that we block any social media use on our equipment is because of viruses. And Facebook is one of the worst. This is just where I work but that is why we block that. But we have a guest wireless that you are allowed to connect to with nothing blocked.




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