This article compares the regulation of electronic employee monitoring in the European Union, the United States and Canada in an attempt to reconcile conflicting legal standards regarding workplace privacy as they are evolving simultaneously with technological advances. Included is an extensive discussion of the European Union’s widely influential privacy directive and its application in the context of electronic employee monitoring, relevant U.S. legislation such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), HIPAA and the ADA, and Canada’s newly enacted Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Also included is a detailed comparative analysis of the regulatory approaches to employee privacy taken in these jurisdictions. Drawn from this analysis are fundamental privacy principles which inform employers of the parameters of employee privacy protection where electronic monitoring is a desired management practice. The authors argue that these principles create an equitable paradigm that rightfully protects employee dignity while recognizing legitimate management needs.
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