In Corporate America, bosses are given special powers so that they can govern their employees. These powers start with the ability to hire and fire employees, as well as to set corporate guidelines for rewarding team and individual performances. In addition, the company has access to personal information about individuals that other individuals do not have access to.
In order to become employed in America, I must give the company my address, my phone number, my Social Security number, my age, my past work experience, what other people thought of me at my last job, etc.
Now, the law specifically prohibits discriminatory usage of this information.
The subject of my blog entry concerns the expanded roll of the company, the executives, and the management. These entities (let’s call them the boss collectively), the bosses has extra abilities over the employees of the company. These abilities include not only the power (not by might, but by right) to control the employees, but also they are given personal information about the employees. The employees cannot take a vacation without justifying it to the Boss. (try it, you will be looked at with different eyes afterwards)
In the internet age and the computer industry, the bosses are especially given the additional power of being able to monitor all electronic communication travelling over the company’s computer equipment. In fact, on the computers, the bosses have, by nature of computer design, administrative superpowers. He can alter bodies of emails or Instant Messages, he can delay the sending and receiving of emails, he can alter your text documents or spreadsheets, and he can change the speed of your computer so that it crashes or pauses at opportune times.
These powers exist. You know it, I know it, and we all know it.
But, what of corporate governance? Has it ever crossed anyone’s mind that this absolute power over employees in the electronic domain is wrong?
And, today, I finally found the problem with the typical reservation: “The company reserves the right to monitor all data travelling over it’s network equipment and to alter these data as it wishes. Bosses have the right to do this because the hardware belongs to the company.”
The problem is that this is not regulated so that the bosses may not comply with discrimination and harassment laws.
For an example, the bosses cannot harass it’s employees by making him “accidentally click” on pornography or any otherwise offensive material just as much as they cannot put up offensive posters that pop up (physically) from the toaster when I go to toast some bread.
Furthermore, the bosses should not be able to impersonate a person’s writing or mistakes. For instance, they cannot alter my emails by introducing typos. The bosses should not be allowed to change the content of my outgoing email in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.
If it sees the need to filter out-going email, then it can do so. And it may choose to inform its employees that this has happened. But the bosses should not be able to change some part of my communication.
Granted, the email box is not a federally installed, government owned piece of equipment. But in general, if I am sending an email, it is generally believed that it is my own person who is thinking and typing the message.
If I make a phone call from work phone, it is believed that I am the one speaking. The bosses cannot introduce sound-bites of swearwords into my phone conversation (and sometimes to the other party only, without me hearing it). Because when I email, and when I call from company, I am not doing so anonymously as “some employee of such and such company”. The person receiving the call and email sees my name, and associates what is said or typed with my identity. The bosses, by altering my communication violates me, impersonates me and defames me surreptitiously.
I cannot stress this enough. The bosses cannot make it appear to my friends, co-workers, and my past and future employers that I constantly make typographical errors in every email, should they be allowed to make them hear swear words on the phone when I converse with them, with or without my knowledge. Even if it is on the company’s equipment!!
The reason why the bosses cannot use this power is because they are not able to use it indiscriminatingly. Because the bosses have, and the bosses will continue to let their centuries of hatred based on religion, language, country of origin, sex and hereditary lineage, passed to them from their ancestors run wild in this absolutely unmonitored and unregulated medium for identity and work.
Furthermore, the bosses should not be able to use information gathered from employees’ electronic communication in a discriminatory way. That is to say, it cannot use an Asian person’s email to his wife about vacation plans to make his vacation impossible but schedule it so that white people can go on their vacation. Doing so would be equivalent of establishing an official holiday on all Indian holidays but scheduling mandatory all day long meetings on Chinese holidays.
My blog is but a firefly near a fly trap. It might be hacked… it might be defaced, and it will receive typos…By the time you read this, the sentences may not be sentences any more.
But some where and some time, out there and in the future, on my beloved Internet, I believe that the evil-doers on the grand scale or on the personal level, will be punished, and that truth, justice, and the American way will prevail !!