Privacy in the twenty-first century

For this discussion, consider that privacy is an increasingly sensitive workplace issue, due to recent advances in technology. Answer the following questions in your discussion post, making reference to the articles and ideas that you have read about this week where appropriate.

  • How can we use technology and legislation to prevent workplace discrimination?
  • How should the HR professional approach privacy issues in the workplace?
  • Why are clear expectations important?
  • What added considerations might HR have in the health care field?

Response Guidelines

Respond to the posts of at least two other learners. Do you think the trends described are beneficial or harmful to society?

Resources

Legal Background

Read the course file, Legal Background: Privacy in the Workplace [PDF], for a basic understanding of the topic for this week. This background information is intended to support your learning like a section of a textbook.

Privacy in the Workplace

Read these articles to understand the wide spectrum of the definition of privacy in the workplace. Be ready to refer to these articles in your discussion where appropriate.

  • Carrison, D. (2017). Balancing transparency and privacy in the workplace. Industrial Management, 59(5), 6. 
    • “Surveys reveal that millennials, who are accustomed to instant accessibility of information, are demanding an open-door policy from all levels of management; they feel entitled to knowledge once closely held – including company initiatives, challenges, finances and salary structures …”
  • Katsabian, T. (2019). Employees’ privacy in the internet age: Towards a new procedural approach. Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, 40(2), 203–255. 
    • This article is about “raising theoretical and practical dilemmas in general and in the context of employment in particular” with new surveillance technology, sharing, and shaming on social media.
  • Schifter, E. (2019, January 8). Why should you be thinking about your employees’ workplace privacy? [Blog post]. HR Law Matters
    • Amazon had been granted two patents for a new wristband for their factory and warehouse workers. “The patents indicated that the wristbands would track workers’ hand movements as orders were filled and provide “haptic” feedback through vibrations to guide workers to the correct items and shelves.”
  • Sheth, P., Wasti, K., & Smith, A. M. (2016). Privacy in the workplace: Organizations must find ways to accommodate employees’ personal technology use while also meeting regulatory and other requirements. Internal Auditor, 73(5), 42–47. 
    • “The article focuses on the significance of privacy in the workplace under certain governance. Topics discussed include the impact of digital technology on workplace behavior, the significance for organizations to look for ways in accommodating the personal technology use of employees while complying to the regulatory and other requirements, and the changing evolution of privacy expectations.”

Laws about Privacy

  • Genetic Alliance, Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, and National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics. (2010, May). Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act [PDF]. Available from http://www.ginahelp.org 
    • The act that protects individuals from genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment.
  • Privacy Act of 1974, H.R. 16373, 93rd Cong. (1974).
    • Enacted to safeguard individual privacy from Federal misuse and provide that individuals be granted access to their records maintained by Federal agencies.
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/index.html 
    • This web page describes who is covered, what information is protected, and how protected health information can be used and disclosed under HIPAA.
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