Spying at Work Includes Peeking at E-Mail

U.S. labor unions are battling workplace surveillance. A study from the American Management Association shows that more than half of employers monitor employees' e-mail. And more than a quarter of employers have actually fired workers for sending "inappropriate" e-mail.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Back here in the U.S., labor unions are battling an issue they say belongs more in some communist regime than in a democracy. It's our last word in business today: workplace surveillance.

A study from the American Management Association shows that more than half of employers monitor employees' email, and more than a quarter of employers have actually fired somebody for sending inappropriate emails.

If that doesn't sound like something from the pages of a communist-era thriller, consider this. The study found that some employers even use GPS technology to track employees who use company BlackBerrys or phones.

I got a BlackBerry. I'm right here.

Union leaders tell their members they can file a grievance about it, but there's no law against spying in the workplace.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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