The Right to Privacy and Corporate Responsibility

The concepts presented will then be assimilated into a discussion about the reasonable accommodation of the genuine needs of both sides of the question, with a conclusion regarding a structure which defines acceptable practices for corporate inquiries while preserving the rights of individuals to retain a modicum of privacy.
This paper will be organized along those logical lines with a section on individual privacy rights that includes current research on the topic. A second section will discuss modern corporate tactics that might impinge upon personal privacy and citations from academic sources regarding the suitability of those methods. The third section will incorporate the concepts of the previous discussions into some workable ideas that accommodate the needs of both parties. Finally, the conclusion will set forth a concise framework that bridges the two extremes.
Individuals have a reasonable expectation that their privacy be protected. Corporations have a demonstrable right to employ those individuals who have an appropriate personal and work history, as well as a work ethic compatible with the objectives and corporate culture of the company. As with any discussion of fundamental rights, however, a consideration must be made regarding the fact that an individual person’s right to privacy does not exclude the need of a corporation to be reasonably assured that the employee is trustworthy. Conversely, an organization’s need to have confidence in their employees does not give it latitude to excessively intrude into the private life of an individual unnecessarily. Accordingly, a proper balance of the needs of both parties will permit the accomplishment of the mutually-sought objectives. Individuals and the companies that employ them can both get what they need if proper respect is shown for the concerns of each.
Individual Privacy Rights
In the modern workplace, employees are subjected to events every day that potentially impinge upon their privacy. Some employers perform credit and background checks prior to hiring. Others require employees to submit to random drug testing or even polygraphs. In many large corporations, employees’ computers and telephone conversations are monitored, recorded, and reviewed. In fact, "[s]urveillance is so thorough in some offices that employers can check to see exactly when employees leave their work stations to go to the bathroom and how long they take" (Hayden, Hendricks &amp. Novik 1990: 97). Individuals, however, do not give up their right to privacy just because they sign on to work for a company. The preservation of these rights is therefore a major concern.
Even in countries where the right to privacy is not statutory or constitutionally-derived, individuals have a natural right to expect that their personal information will not be distributed without their consent or used against them in an unlawful manner. It is a widely-recognized principle that even when a situation exists where someone, a corporation for example, has a duty to its investors to investigate the background of a potential employee, that duty is circumscribed by the individual’s basic human rights. As expressed by

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