1. The value of privacy.
Privacy is an important value that can come in three dimensions:
The most important – mental privacy – is the privacy of the inner world, the thoughts of man, his ideals, desires, feelings. It manifests itself in people in a special way and requires special respect. Most people may want to open their inner feelings to people who can help and who can help.
However, most of us hide much of our inner world and even our loved ones because:
such secrecy protects against exploitation of those who wish to exploit people for their own purposes;
disclosure of privacy may be detrimental to the individual.
A person may be required to disclose his or her inner life to a psychologist if this is necessary for his or her mental health. There are cases where the employer has the right to demand disclosure of the internal world of the applicant for the job. However, the need for this should be clearly stated.
Physical privacy is a necessary tool for the mental privacy tool. All employees of any profession need the protection of physical privacy to perform their work. Some courts have ruled that physical privacy is violated only in the case of direct physical assault. According to this view, spying on binoculars or a microphone from outside someone’s property is not a privacy violation. Such a judgment is incorrect and unethical, since modern technology can cause harm without direct physical encroachment. A person’s right to privacy is not limited to the objects of his property. Physical privacy can in essence mean the protection of feelings and personal relationships. Therefore, violation of physical privacy is possible even in the absence of an offense or encroachment on property.
From a business standpoint, it is not a boon for a senior to know that his or her subordinates think about their manager. So, physical privacy is a necessary means of being able to be yourself and maintain social and business relationships with others.
Social privacy. For the effective functioning of society, each person plays several roles: father, mother, husband, administrator, citizen. Often this is not possible if the roles are not divisible and not isolated from each other. Social secrecy and privacy are needed to support the difference of roles. The firm has a legitimate interest in anything that significantly affects the performance of the work. Drunkenness and gambling of persons in the position of supervisors, inability to keep their tongue in the teeth of leading specialists are related to the work, and the marital loyalty of these persons or participation in meetings of nudists –– no.
There are serious problems with legitimate interest when it comes to actions by individuals that affect the image of the company. With career advancement, the impact of their business on the company image is often decisive.
If an employee of a company belongs to the Communist Party, then obviously this fact does not have a significant effect on the image of the company, and if the vice president of a company belongs to the Nazi party, the situation is different because people do not want to deal with that person, nor with the firm where he works.
It should be remembered that a person’s right is primary and cannot be violated by anyone or by way of unjustified interference. However, such validity cannot be unilaterally established, but only through the elaboration of a collective agreement. Modern business involves long business trips and employees perceive it as part of working conditions, but the need for such business is justified only if business travel is really necessary for the company.
If the consequences of this for the wife and children are not taken into account, then the company will act as if it had not only appropriated the employee, but his family.
3. Means of research.
Not all of the research tools used by a company to its employees are ethical. Privacy has its requirements and the employee voluntarily gives up some of his or her privacy when hiring. People agree to the usual supervision of their work. The problem is where the boundary is between justified and unwarranted privacy interference. It is about the means the company uses: telegraph messages, hidden cameras, testing.
If the use of special equipment to control workers in the production area is necessary to prevent theft, which cannot be controlled by ordinary measures, then it can be considered that the company had sufficient grounds for this. For example, workers are dealing with small, valuable items.
Even in these cases, the existence of special controls must be made known to employees in order to protect their legitimate secrets. The use of special controls in the production area and in the non-production (rest room) will require much more serious grounds. In particular, the sanctions required for a search should be based on the suspicion that this procedure will allow the obtaining of evidence of a serious crime committed earlier.
An enterprise, even when using special controls, must protect employees from harmful side effects. Therefore, privacy information and data collected must be destroyed, forgotten, or ignored because the company is not authorized to collect and use such information.
It is also not ethical to use a lie-detector test to test applicants who have to deal with large sums of cash, but it is the duty of the company manager to invite a highly qualified employee who can decipher the interview results.