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Third, these laws will be applied to the identified workplace privacy issues and their effectiveness at protecting worker privacy will be analysed.
It may also involve observation of an employee in his or her own home.
The monitoring of an employee's work can take place in a number of ways.
Most authors will refer to the seminal article of Warren and Brandeis when formulating such a definition. Their definition is perhaps the most concise - privacy is said to be the 'right to be let alone'. More recently, the New Zealand Court of Appeal has dealt with this difficult area of law in the case of Hosking v Runting. Tipping J noted that the concept of privacy is potentially very broad and defined it for the purposes of the case before him as 'the right to have people leave you alone if you do not want some aspect of your private life to become public property'. He also stated that it 'is of the essence of the dignity and personal autonomy and well being of all human beings that some aspects of their lives should be able to remain private if they so wish' . Thus, privacy is accorded recognition as an important concept in New Zealand law.
It is, in fact, generally recognised as a fundamental human right in academic literature. However, the right to privacy is far from being absolute.
It may also be used for training purposes or to improve production processes.
Surveillance can be criticised due to its inhibiting effect on employees: when one knows that every action is recorded, it causes one to 'hesitate before pausing in the course of one's work, taking a breather, yawning, or otherwise being oneself without affecting one's work'. This can lead to an increase in worker stress. It becomes particularly offensive to workers' dignity when cameras are placed in areas where employees might reasonably expect to enjoy privacy, such as in bathrooms or changing rooms.
If given to non-professionals within the employing company, there is the possibility that such individuals may misinterpret the results and act negatively towards a person on a misguided basis. Physical testing may be divided into two sub-categories: health or fitness testing and drug or alcohol testing.
Health or fitness testing usually takes place before an employment offer is made.
Obviously the threat to privacy from such monitoring is that the employer will discover personal information about an employee from reading the employee's personal emails to friends and family or from information gathered about the type of websites the employee visits.
Psychological or personality testing will generally take place in the pre-employment stage, but may also be used during employment for making decisions on promotions and other job related decisions.