Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Glenford Smith | Should my boss be listening to my calls?

Published:Thursday | June 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Q: Does your workplace have the right to listen in on your personal cellular and fixed line calls? For over two years, my woorkplace has been doing this. Persons at the top of the company are leaking everything about the company daily, yet their phones are not being listened to. How can I get privacy on my phone calls? Am I entitled to privacy on my calls?

- Disgruntled Worker

C: Thank you for your letter. Your question seems loaded with assumptions. How do you know for a fact that "persons at the top of the company are leaking everything"? What do you mean by 'everything'? We have to be careful to ensure that we speak of what we know.

You seem understandably upset about your inability to make calls privately. All the same, you will need to guard against your emotions clouding your reason.

Does your workplace have the right to monitor your calls? If you are on their premises, then the fact is they do. The hours when you are doing the company's work, you are on their time. You contracted with them that for those hours, you will be doing their work.

If you want to place a personal call to a friend or a firm, it is understandable that you want it kept private. But know that your employer might be listening in, which you would have been told at the time you were contracted. If at the time, you were uncomfortable with this arrangement, you should not have taken the job.

Your superiors at the company have certain privileges you don't enjoy. You seem to resent this fact. Your attitude seems to be: If they can do it, why can't I? Fact is, they employ you, not the other way around.

The company's landline is their property to do with as they see fit. You will have to content yourself with the knowledge that you do not have any privacy on your calls. With technology as advanced as it is now, your company may be able to keep tabs on your private cell calls. But unless your company is into hyper-security, I wouldn't worry myself about that.

If your cell phone is given to you for the execution of your duties, the same rule regarding your privacy applies. It is their phone, and they have a right to do with it what they wish. You may use their phone but with that understanding.

But what is so private that you can't say it and let anyone hear? Your employer is there to see that you work when you're supposed to work. And you are there to do that, so what's the big deal?

People who find these conditions of employment onerous are those who go into business for themselves.

To guarantee that you have privacy for a call, ask for time and go outside and use your own phone to make it. That way, you can guarantee nobody will listen in on your conversation.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.