With the inception of time monitoring software, another legal, and ethical debate has erupted. Does it violate data protection laws? With the passage of strict laws like GDPR in Europe, it can cost millions to employers for susceptible breach of employees’ privacy which may include their personal information. Not only in Europe, but more than 80 countries have adopted strict laws regarding data protection.
With the increasing need for freelance and remote working, employers face pressing need to be vigilant about the execution of tasks within the agreed time frame for work. Now the question remains on how to tread this path safely? There are certain ways to do it safely, and legal without getting trapped into some difficult predicament.
While GDPR itself is only concerned with PII data (Name, Date of Birth, Biometrics and such); it should be a good practice for other companies to respect employee’s privacy. There is a fine line between employee monitoring and respecting privacy. So how do you find the right balance between employee monitoring and respecting privacy? Let’s analyze it.
There are steps to avoid legal repercussions of handling employees’ private data. The most essential is to take their consent at the time of making an offer and make it legally binding through contract. The same employees assent social media apps to access their private data, more sensitive than the one being monitored by employers.
They confirm it by marking the ‘’I agree’’ at the end of the signup form on every site, so it’s not unfamiliar for them to figure out how it works. Likewise, at some foreign airports, extensive probe into personal data of passengers is being done. It includes even handing over the passwords of social media accounts. Privacy is no longer perceived as before.
Ensure legitimate interests:
Consent might be the most important step to ensure, but it’s not the only legal ground. Employers need to provide accurate interests for the adoption of time monitoring software. For instance, if it’s in the utmost interest of the company to boost productivity. That their profits and losses depend on it, and it’s the only viable solution to measure the performance of its workers.
Not only that, employees should be offered incentives in return. Like when their performance is found productive than others, they should be given points to secure early increments. Performance can range from punctuality to finishing projects earlier. It’s not a one-way road, both parties must share its benefits. It also prompts compliance.
Making it transparent:
Employees need to be aware if data monitoring is done solely for business purposes, and shall be collected only via the official devices. They must know :
- How their data is going to be used, and processed?
- Which app or system are you using? Is it reliable and secured with SSL?
- One of their fundamental rights i.e. the right to privacy shall not be violated by rendering their personal information to any third party.
- Personal data should be stored for a limited period, and employees are given the right to restrict or erase data when needed.
- Develop a culture of trust.
Are you using the right system?
This is the most crucial aspect when maintaining the privacy of the workforce. Which software is being used? What features it offers? For instance, if it offers screenshot capturing then does it allow the erasure of it if you like? Is there an option to turn off the system while you carry out personal tasks? Or is it capturing photo/video through webcam? Is it secured with SSL?
These are the questions to address for the satisfaction of the workforce. However, before that, employers themselves have to investigate which is the right app in the market to use. Choosing the right and trustworthy time monitoring software is crucial to gain employees’ trust.
It’s a digital world
Whether its social media or workplace, immaculate data protection is an outdated concept now. In every such instance, one is compromising privacy for some personal gain, or interest. For social media, if one ‘agrees’ for the sake of entertainment, and social networking. At the workplace, it’s for monetary gains and career objectives.
There is give, and take in a newly globalized world for making progress in any arena of life. Data and privacy protection can’t be ensured in a way as it was decades ago. Even though there are always legal measures to stay out of peril. Time monitoring software is the need of contemporary age to get rid of unprofessional practices, enhance productivity, and can’t be shunned away for unsubstantial fears when reliable time tracking products are there to handle data. But at the same time, it is the duty of employers to ensure good ethics when it comes to employee monitoring.