esposearch - ideal online careers

Business Communication: Main Factors Review

The technological advancement that the world is experiencing today has been reflected in many workplaces through the use of the internet for communication and other business related transactions. However, in most companies, the use of the internet and emails is not confined to business related issues since the employers are not always available to monitor what their employees are doing over the internet. Emails at the workplace are commonly used as a mode of communications between employees and employers at work place as well as organizations (Dwyer, 2008). The innovation in technology has also made it easier for employers and employees to retrieve any information from the internet through multiple search engines like Google, yahoo etc. although many people feel that use of emails and internet for non-work related issues is appropriate, quite a number feel that it affects the employees productivity and therefore call for a policy implementation that allows monitoring by the employers (Hastings, 2006).

The employees argue that the use of internet at work place for personal purposes is acceptable since it breaks the work monotony as well as saving the employer’s time since they don’t have to go to post offices to send mails. Thus they argue against employer’s right to monitor what the employees send or receive. On the other hand, the employers are legally obliged to accept responsibilities of all emails sent or received, materials downloaded and contents watched through their systems in their premises. It is therefore important for organizations to have a private policy that clearly states the suitable internet browsing activities in the workplace. In most workplaces, the internet usage policy enforces the time restrictions for non work related internet browsing and guidelines of the various sites that should be browsed. The internet privacy policy is meant to reduce the employers monitoring activities of what the employees are doing on the internet and at the same time mitigate the inherent risks on the organization’s IT network infrastructure.

What are the current laws regulating employee e-mail and internet privacy?

Internet usage policies in the work environment is not meant to pry on employees or disallow them their rights to use internet at workplace; however it’s necessary to lay down rules and regulations to govern internet use to ensure legal aspects are adhered to, for the general wellbeing of the organization (Muhl, 2003).

Monitoring of employees’ internet messaging at the workplace both in private and public sector is considered legal. There are statutory and case laws that have been legislated including; U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522 (2000 & Supp. I 2001), that also includes the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18 U.S.C. 2701-2712 (2000 & Supp. I 2001), that legalize email monitoring at workplace (Wulffson, 1999). Further Sec.2701 goes ahead and gives the employer permission to access employees email without their prior knowledge or granted permission (Muhl, 2003).

The Publications Classifications Act 1993 also works together with the workplace policies on email and internet use. This works when the workplace policies make reference to the Act in case an organization wants to stipulate the content that is accessed by the employees (Muhl, 2003). Section 29(1) of the act gives the employer exclusive rights to determine whether the content accessed is objectionable or restricted (Hastings, 2006).

Why do companies implement email and internet use policies?

It’s a prudent act for any organization to protect its interior operations information from any external exposure that may threaten or jeopardize its existence. Email and internet use is one of the most vulnerable activities that may enable access or dissemination of organization’s top most secret information. Therefore, implementation of email and internet use policies is paramount in every organization. several factors justify this noble action; first, the employers are legally obliged to take any responsibilities for emails sent, materials downloaded and videos watched from the internet in their IT network infrastructure (Muhl, 2003). Secondly, the use of internet and emails for personal or business unrelated purposes lowers the employees’ productivity thereby compromising on the organization’s general performance. Thirdly, through the use of internet, the employees may get access of infectious software without their knowledge that may damage the whole IT network infrastructure and thus paralyzing the operations in the organization. Lastly there could be disloyal employees who could sabotage the organization’s operations by sending company’s confidential information to competitors or other malicious parties. All the above factors call for implementation of a policy that allow the employer to monitor what the employees are doing on the internet as well as educating the employees’ on the consequences that they should bear in case of a failure to follow the policy procedures.

What assumptions might employees make about their privacy at work?

Most employees feel that their rights are infringed by their employers when they monitor their activities on the internet or when they access their sent or received emails without their consent. They therefore argue that their activities on the internet are private and should not be monitored. However this is contrary to what the laws and other legislative Acts advocate for (Dwyer, 2008). The law states that the activities of an employee regarding usage of internet while in the premises of the employer is not private and therefore grants permission to the employer to monitor those activities.

Further, most employees view emails and internet use as a more casual affair rather than formal and as such should not be subjected to any scrutiny or monitoring by their employers. Thus they feel that their private life is being tampered with by their employers a factor that is now a common cause of jitters between the employers and employees. Another assumption that the employees have about their privacy at work is that of subjection to identity theft. This is common when the employer is obliged to give their employees confidential details like the Social Security Number (SSN) to the government agencies (Wulffson, 1999). This makes the employees to always be dependent on their employer on matters concerning their privacy since they (employers) always seem to have an upper hand of accessing their private information.

How do these policies affect employee privacy at work?

This policy limits the employees’ freedom and their right of association with their friends. They also feel that their privacy is being invaded through monitoring and this in one way or the other demoralizes them and tends to create a gap between the employer and their employees. The gap widens further leading to fallout if the monitoring leads to a lawsuit.


Dwyer, J (2008) The Business Communication. 8th Ed. New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall.

Hastings, B. (2006). Appropriate use of email and the internet in the workplace. Web.

Muhl, C. (2003) Workplace e-mail and Internet use: employees and employers beware. Web.

Wulffson, T.(1999). Internet Usage Policies in the Workplace. Web.


About the author

we will assist you 24/7

Quick Contact

Keep current with the ESPOSEARCH Blog. Let’s get it written!

EspoSearch Ⓒ 2022 - All Rights Are Reserved