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A court in Ontario, Canada ruled last week that employees have a right to privacy on their work computers.
The ruling is already considered a landmark workplace decision in Canada.
The reasoning behind the decision seems simple: If employers expect employees to be available 24/7 and hand out company-issued technology devices to make them even more available, then it goes without saying that employees will use these devices to conduct some personal business, send personal emails, take personal photos, and so on.
Essentially, the court is saying that employers can’t tether employees to technology without giving them some breathing room, a.k.a. privacy.
Here in the United States, more than 40% of employers regularly scan employees’ computers and 28% of U.S. employees have been fired as a result, according to a 2007 ePolicy Institute survey. Of course, this survey was conducted prior to the Great Recession, so who knows what the numbers look like now.
You can read about the ruling here.