The Telework Virus: How COVID-19 has Affected Telework and Exposed Its Implications for Privacy
53 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2022 Last revised: 24 Jul 2022
Date Written: April 4, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted millions of people from working at their workplace to teleworking from home, generating a new normal: remote work. Remote work will be an integral part of the future of work and has positive implications for the employee, employer, and society. However, as this article aims to demonstrate, remote work also involves hidden, problematic implications for workers’ rights to privacy that arise from its hybrid, technology-based nature.
Remote work creates a new hybrid workspace for employees: the home-office. The home-office combines the logic and structure of the traditional workplace with those of the private sphere of the employee. As a result, the home-office creates an ongoing dilemma with respect to the privacy rights of the employee and anyone near her, especially her family. Because the work is conducted outside the physical workplace, employers are motivated to use various monitoring tools to ensure that the worker actually works. These programs give the employer a foothold in the private life of the employee that continually infringes on the privacy rights of the worker and her family. As this article shows, this is possible because of the state of the law and the increasing evolution of dubious monitoring programs in the tech industry.
Keywords: labor law, employment law, privacy, ICT, IT, remote work, COVID-19, telework
JEL Classification: J81, J83, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation