Thursday, August 6, 2009

Supreme Court Slightly Narrows Workplace Privacy Protection

In Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc. (here), the Supreme Court has held that an employer did not violates its employees' constitutional rights to privacy by surreptitiously monitoring their office for pornographic computer use during non-work hours. While the Court held that the employees had privacy interests in their workplaces (which may be the most important part of the holding), it also held that the intrusion was not highly offensive and significantly serious so as to violate those interests. The court placed particular emphasis on the fact that the employees were not monitored during work hours (indeed, no one was actually videotaped) and the employer's interest as a residential facility for neglected and abused children to prevent such computer use.

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