In a world where politically, a lot of questionable policies are being made which infringe on the individual’s ‘right to choose’, traveller privacy is a very relevant topic.
Our recent blog addressed how risk management is everybody’s business, not just that of the travel manager. Risk management also happens to be the business of the traveller.
But how does the obligation of a corporation to protect their employee from unfamiliar risks and threats impact their traveller’s right to privacy? And within that environment, what is the responsibility of the traveller to cooperate willingly with the company’s travel risk guidelines – their so-called Duty of Loyalty? An interesting International SOS White Paper tackles this topic in great depth.
How do you feel about companies monitoring their staff movements 24/7? Should this be limited to when they are travelling? What happens if something happens to them on their way to work? Should we be tracking their movements continuously to help them when they need us, or is this an infringement on their privacy?
And then that begs the question: If the employee would like to keep their privacy intact, does this automatically mean that they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing? (Of course not!) Or are we simply saying as travellers that we have a right to keep part of our life private, a right to separate our business and personal life. Which can become very ‘grey’ on lengthy business trips.
The answer could lie in giving employees a choice: We can track you 24/7 to keep you safe, or the corporate requires that travellers sign a disclaimer stating that they are not responsible for your safety when they are unable to track you – although the legality of that would need to be explored further.
Perhaps we should be asking our travellers to get in touch with the office – by phone or instant message – a minimum number of times per day relinquishing the need to track their location. But if they fail to ‘check-in’, the company would have no choice but to track their movements.
According to International SOS, in a Duty of Loyalty culture, employees willingly cooperate with travel risk management guidelines—even if these policies curtail employee “privacy” in terms of the employer’s knowledge of their whereabouts.
Duty of Care and Duty of Loyalty refer to a culture in which employers care about the health, safety, security and well-being of their traveling employees (and their dependents). They develop and deploy relevant travel risk management approaches to protect from possible harm.
At the end of the day, trust will be the overriding factor. Listen to my recent radio podcast on the topic for more insights.
What do you think? Should travellers’ rights to privacy outweigh the corporate’s Duty of Care requirements? We will be running a joint Nina & Pinta and ABTA survey on the topic in the near future and would love to hear your views!