My co-workers and I are being asked to sign a 21-page contract amendment, to cover a tightening-up of policy on data security in order to achieve an accreditation of meeting a particular industry-standard. One little item, however, hidden among the usual fare is what is described as a Right of Search, which will allow management to search "possessions, your vehicle and your desk and work area" (No mention of rubber gloves yet! And sorry about the lack of commas, never mind HOCs!). Does this seem reasonable, or even legal? Don't I have a right to go to work without being under the threat of being subjected to a search of my personal possessions? I admit it would only happen in extreme circumstances (hopefully!) but I don't think that's the point. jjg1
Put yourself in the place of the employer: You want to prevent security breaches. Is searching and inspection of your desk and work area (things that actually belong to the employer) unreasonable? Your pictures of your wife and kids? What could they find? Your briefcase, Blackberry, cell phone? Ideal conduits of data through security, so why not? If you're not doing anything nefarious, so what?
If you're offended, you could consult with a labor law attorney familiar with laws in your jurisdiction for further advice. But if you have nothing to hide, let 'em look!
No indeed, never willingly hand such pervasive rights to your employer or to any other entity whose interests are not naturally aligned with yours (if there is any such entity)!
I do not agree with Dave. In many ways an employer's and employees' interests and motivations are diametrically opposed. Remember that any contract is laughable during good times; it is only tested when a situation arises that places the parties into conflict!
But, as Dave says, this poetry forum, and so, is not the best place to continue this discussion.
The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying (Graham)
Thanks Dave and WeeWilly Dave, I don't really object to my employer searching desks, work areas etc because, as you say, they actually belong to my employer. What I do object to is my employer having the right to search through my personal possessions. What about my right to privacy? Extending your argument, why don't we all have cctv cameras in our houses, so that the police can check that we're not breaking the law? If we're doing nothing wrong, what do we have to hide? I suspect this is the thin end of the wedge; once such a right is given, it eventually leads to abuse. I think it's a matter of trust. If an employer cannot trust its employees to "do the right thing", were an incident of theft to occur, why should the employees trust the employer to only use this power in the appropriate way?
I agree with Dave that it's a reasonable clause to put in an employment contract, in the case of work that involves data security and the like, but only in respect of searches carried out at the employer's premises, of course. But I disagree with the age-old excuse that if you've nothing to hide, you've no reason to object; just because I've nothing to hide, it doesn't mean that I want to, or should have to, share any personal details with anyone. That way lies 'phone tapping, mail (electronic and physical) intercepts, and any other form of privacy intrusion that employers/the news media/the State might decide to introduce. 1984 a few years late.
I thought employers already have many of these rights in the UK without having to seek permission. Years ago, I worked briefly for Land Rover and they had the right to search any employee's car, to ensure that the employees weren't stealing parts (or, I assume, trade secrets).
Remember that Johnny Cash song?
A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one (Benjamin Franklin)