Privacy, Employment, and Dignity

  • John G. Francis
  • Leslie P. Francis
Part of the AMINTAPHIL: The Philosophical Foundations of Law and Justice book series (AMIN, volume 8)


Understanding the intangible harms of privacy violations has proved daunting. Yet it is vitally important to understanding the value of privacy beyond economic harms of privacy loss. This chapter explores how violations of employee privacy affect the dignity of work as a lens for understanding intangible privacy harms. Employee privacy has drawn less attention in recent privacy discussions than informational privacy, even though it is seriously under protected in the U.S. today. Indeed, privacy has largely been linked to employment through the possibility that the information individuals reveal on social media may unwittingly affect their employment prospects and thus cause economic harm. Yet arguments for employee privacy—of information, space, and private lives—also draw on dignity in the sense of protection from vulnerability from loss of important human goods such as the ability to function as a citizen and the need for meaningful work. In this chapter, we explore these dignity-based justifications for employee privacy. We then use this discussion to illuminate when non-consensual uses of information drawn from individuals are particularly troubling with respect to the non-economic harms they may cause.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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