Mika Writes on Collective Bargaining Agreements as Vehicles for Uniform Workplace Privacy Standards

K_MIKAC|M|LAW Legal Writing Professor Karin Mika has published Privacy in the Workplace: Are Collective Bargaining Agreements a Place to Start Formulating More Uniform Standards? in the Willamette Law Review.   The article suggests that current laws regarding privacy in the workplace are inadequate in dealing with technological advances that blur lines between online communication behavior that is work related and non work related.  The article further suggests that most employers have the advantage as far as scrutinizing what their employees do online because there are few prohibitions on what an employer may scrutinize.  Employers, furthermore, do not really have the incentive to change anything regarding their scrutiny because vagueness gives employers more of an advantage in determining what behaviors are inappropriate and subject to discipline.  The article argues, however, that this might not continue to be so advantageous for employers because more and more employees are suing employers for violations of privacy or for wrongful discharge stemming from violations of online privacy.  The article then suggests that it would be beneficial if employers had clearer rules for online behavior, but that it may only be through collective bargaining that some of these rules could be established.  The article asserts that if unionized personnel took the initiative to protect their own online privacy rights through a collective bargaining process, this trend might carry over into the private employer realm as private employers (and employees) would begin to see the benefit if having clear rules regarding what are prohibited work related online communications.

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