A study of employer surveillance methods

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Business


The primary purpose of this study was to determine the extent of employee surveillance used by various private business firms in Gallatin County. The population selection included businesses in the Bozeman trade area. The sample size was fifty businesses including retail, service, professional, manufacturing and one other business. Businesses were selected to reflect a representative profile of businesses in the area relative to number of employees and gross revenue. Data was obtained through a review of literature and a survey instrument. The questions asked in the survey instrument requested information on the types of pre-employment inquiries used, if electronic surveillance were used in pre-employment screening, if a polygraph were used, if surveillance were used on the business premises and if employees were moniored when off the job. Employers were also asked how important they felt employee surveillance was and if present methods of surveillance tend to protect business investment and employee rights. The conclusions reached were: (1) businesses in the Bozeman trade area are not overly concerned about employee surveillance; (2) small businesses are the most concerned about employee surveillance; (3) electronic surveillance methods are rarely used by businesses in the Bozeman trade area; (4 ) the majority Of businesses use pre-employment inquiries which follow standard procedures and do not invade the applicant's privacy; (5) employers respect the employees rights of privacy and yet protect their business investment.




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