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Can I expect any privacy in the workplace?

As an employee, you may not consider what rights you do or do not have in the workplace until you find one or more of them possibly violated. Unfortunately, many employees across all sectors of employment do not fully understand the nature of their rights in the workplace, and fail to defend those rights when an employer violates them. If you believe that your employer violated your employee rights, or simply want to better understand what you can expect in the workplace, you may want to consult with an employment law attorney.

Individual rights to privacy in the workplace are often very poorly understood, by both employees and employers. On top of this, different types of jobs offer greater or lesser degrees of privacy, depending on the nature of the employer and the position an employee holds.

Generally speaking, employees can expect some degree of privacy, but the specifics of how this plays out change and grow constantly as technology accelerates and public attitudes surrounding privacy shift. Privacy is usually expectable when it comes to personal possessions and storage that only the employee accesses, such as a briefcase or even a letter addressed to a specific employee. An employee may also expect privacy on his or her own personal phone or voicemail.

However, an employee should not expect as much privacy in email communication or communication done through employer-provided devices. Similarly, employers may face some restrictions surrounding the kind of information they can request or seek out during a job application.

If you suspect that your employer is violating your rights to privacy, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. You may have grounds for a lawsuit, but building the claim as carefully as possible is crucial. Do not hesitate to seek out professional guidance to protect your rights in the workplace.

Source: FindLaw, "Employees Rights 101," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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