What are my privacy rights at work?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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What are my privacy rights at work?

I work from home in my tiny NYC apartment. After 5 years of employment, my west coast boss is insisting I get a Skype account saying that it’s for phone calls only, which I’m not buying since calling anywhere in America has been part of every land line and cell phone plan for about 20 years. My personal computer that I use for work is not company issued.

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter if you buy or believe the boss's explanation, or agree with the logic, unfortunately. An employer has the right to set the terms and conditions of employment, and to change them at will, so long as there is no existing employment agreement or contract to the contrary. If your boss has decided he wants you  to have and use Skype for *any* reason, he can insist on this; if you don't  do it, he would be entirely within his rights to fire you. For whatever it's worth, some people believe that being able to see the person you are speaking to makes for more efficient meetings and closer work relationships.

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