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Workshop 7 (half day)

Is That Really Any of Your Business?  Privacy in the Workplace

Presenter:   Donald L. Zink, Personnel Management Decisions
Coordinator:   Amy D. Grubb, Federal Bureau of Investigation

The privacy expectations and interests of both the employee and the employer are of increasing importance in today’s workplace.  Although those interests may sometimes overlap or be complementary, they often conflict.  In this workshop several major aspects of the employment relationship are considered.  The first topic we will examine will be the recruiting and hiring process, including employment interviews and testing procedures.  For example, when do personality measures and biodata instruments become overly intrusive?  Should an employer use “googling” as a way to learn more about a job applicant?  A second topic will be performance evaluations.  What kind of information may be used, and with whom may that information be shared?  Should the employer request and provide job references?  A third topic, of increasing importance and concern in today’s technological workplace environment, will consider the surveillance and monitoring of employee performance and electronic communications in the workplace.  Finally, we will take a look at when an employee’s off-duty activities and lifestyle choices may be monitored.  In our discussion of these issues, we will focus upon the legal aspects of privacy concerns by acquainting the I-O practitioner with the potential liability and legal obligations of those who use and share potentially private information.  In addition, we also consider how that information might be obtained and directed to result in a more productive workplace.
 

The workshop is designed to help participants:
• Summarize the legal aspects of privacy concerns, by acquainting the I-O practitioner with legal obligations and potential liability concerns of those who use and share private information
• Apply techniques and best practices to the protection of privacy within the workplace setting
• Explain the implications of privacy laws and policies from both employee and employer perspectives
• Identify potential privacy pitfalls encountered in the workplace and develop solutions to avoid or mitigate negative consequences

Donald L. Zink began his professional career as a research psychologist in the U.S. Air Force, performing human factors research after receiving his master’s degree in mathematical psychology from the University of Michigan.  After retiring from the Air Force, he joined AT&T, where he worked under the tutelage and guidance of Mary Tenopyr.  His interest in employment law was engendered there by his interaction with corporate attorneys in the defense of challenges to AT&T’s employment selection procedures.  After the breakup of the Bell system, he began his consulting career and subsequently received his juris doctor degree from the University of Denver College of Law, emphasizing civil rights and employment law.  Although he is a licensed attorney, he does not practice but prefers to continue his professional participation within the I-O community.

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