Employees Want Strong Security Measures at Work

In the aftermath of September 11th, more than half of all employees believe their employers should have made identification procedures for entering their workplace more strict, but only a third report that this has happened.

More than half of all employees believe that tighter procedures should have been adopted for accessing the employers' computer systems, but only a quarter report that this has happened. Half of all employees want to have more detailed background checks on new job applicants, but only one in nine says that this has happened.

These are a few of the results of a Harris Interactive survey that was conducted for Privacy & American Business. The interviews were conducted online with a nationwide sample of 1,258 employed adults, surveyed between March 27 and April 2, more than six months after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In reviewing these results, Dr. Alan Westin, the president and CEO of Privacy & American Business, commented that, "While employees at both private and government workplaces want to see due process followed and privacy boundaries respected, large majorities want wider background checks and stronger access-security measures carried out at their workplaces. And, three fourths of employees express high confidence that their employers can be trusted to increase security in a proper way."

Some of the key findings:

  • Some 81 percent of employed adults said they would be willing to have ID cards issued by their employers, with photos, a fingerprint (or other biometric identifier), with 44 percent saying they would be very willing. Only 7 percent said they were "not at all willing" to have this.
  • The proportion of employees who reported that steps have been taken by their employers include: 36 percent of employees who said their employers have made identification procedures more strict for people entering their workplaces; 26 percent who reported that tighter procedures for accessing their employers' computer systems have been adopted; 11 percent who reported that more detailed checks are being done on new job applicants; and 7 percent who said that more detailed checks are being done on current employees.
  • The proportion of employees who think their employers should be doing those things is far higher than the numbers who report that their employers are doing them. And three out of four measures are supported by just over 50 percent of all employees.

The support for stricter security measures is strong among both managers and non-managers, and even stronger among union than non-union workers, perhaps because they tend to work for large employers where more of these practices have been implemented, and where support for them is stronger.

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