Motion to protect employee privacy denied

HR managers rejected a motion that employees need their privacy protected
against big brother employers. During a debate set up by the Employment Lawyers
Association and the Institute of Personnel and Development last month, Dr Clive
Morton of Anglian Water Services said that openness, consultation and workplace
agreements would mean no new laws were needed.

Jose Pottinger, director of the US engine manufacturer Cummins, said a
rational rather than emotional response was needed. Most surveillance tactics
were not used to gain unfair advantage but to gather data for research and
training. If employee monitoring was intrusive, employees would vote with their
feet, she added. But most were supportive of a level of surveillance if they
knew when, for how long and under what criteria.

Speaking for the motion, Robin Allen QC argued the law provided little
protection for employee privacy unlike rules on unfair dismissal, redundancy,
discrimination, the payment of wages and Tupe.

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