Privacy Law Blog

Category Archives: Workplace Privacy

Subscribe to Workplace Privacy RSS Feed

Attorney-Client Privilege Waived by Imputed Knowledge of Employee And Employee’s Attorney of Employer E-Mail Monitoring

In August, we wrote about the ruling of a New Jersey appellate court in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., in which the court took a very narrow view of the ability of employers to monitor the e-mail communications of employees over its computer networks. In that case, which is now on appeal to the … Continue Reading

Cal. Supreme Court Has a Look at Cameras in the Workplace

In Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc., S147552 (Aug. 3, 2009), the California Supreme Court unanimously held that the mere placement of a hidden video camera in an employee's office could constitute an invasion of privacy, even if the camera was never actually used to record the employee. Under the specific facts of the case, however, the Court ultimately found no liability because the intrusion was relatively minor, limited and justified, but California employers should be aware that the use of hidden surveillance cameras without notice or warning in "semi-private" office space is likely to produce an actionable claim for invasion of privacy in many cases. … Continue Reading

E-Verify Litigation Resumes as Homeland Security Decides to Implement Mandatory Use Rule

In January 2009, we reported on the postponement of a controversial federal regulation resulting from a legal challenge filed by Proskauer Rose on behalf of several trade organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The rule, the result of an executive order signed by then-President George W. Bush, requires most federal contractors and subcontractors to verify … Continue Reading

“Houston’s, We Have A Privacy Problem . . . .”

On June 16, 2009, in Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, USDC D.N.J. Case No. 2:06-cv-5754-FSH-PS, a New Jersey federal jury found that the Houston’s restaurant chain violated the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act(NJWESCA) by allegedly requiring an employee to surrender to Houston’s managers login information that … Continue Reading

Court Uses Computer Privacy Law to Crack the Whip on Use of Work Computer to Solicit Dominatrix-Prostitute

The Ohio Court of Appeals, in State v. Wolf, No. 08-16, slip op. (Ohio Ct. App. 5d April 28, 2009), recently upheld application of Ohio’s computer crime law to an employee who used his work computer to engage in criminal conduct (solicitation of a dominatrix-prostitute). While this holding may seem uncontroversial, another aspect of the decision … Continue Reading

Rehearing En Banc Denied in Quon . . . With Dissent

On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc in Quon v. Arch Wireless, previously discussed here. The dissent (1) disagrees with the panel's conclusion that the SWAT team members had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text messages on the grounds that the decision undermines the standard established by the Supreme Court in O'Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987); and (2) finds that the method used by the panel to determine whether the search was reasonable conflicts with Supreme Court precedent holding that the Fourth Amendment does not require the government to use the "least intrusive means" when conducting a "special needs" search. The dissent can be found here. Judge Wardlaw's concurrence in the denial of rehearing en banc can be found here. We will keep you posted on this one. … Continue Reading

Enforcement of E-Verify Regulation Postponed Once Again

Today is Data Privacy Day and we bring you a special post regarding E-Verify from guest contributors Lawrence Lorber, Malcolm Harkins, and James Segroves, of Proskauer's DC office, and David Grunblatt of Proskauer's Newark office. Enforcement of a controversial federal regulation that raised significant privacy concerns has been postponed once again as the result of a legal challenge filed by Proskauer on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and four other trade associations. See Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Napolitano, Civil Action No. AW-08-3444 (D. Md.). The regulation in question would have required most government contractors and subcontractors to participate in E-Verify, an Internet-based system that allows employers to verify that individuals are eligible to work in the United States using an employee's Social Security Number and other personal information. Pursuant to a January 27, 2009 agreement between the parties, enforcement of the regulation has been postponed until May 21, 2009, in order to give the recently inaugurated Administration of President Barack Obama an opportunity to review the regulation. A notice to this effect is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2009. … Continue Reading

Tagging Cars for Labor-Organizing Purposes May Be Subject to Punitive Damages

 The Third Circuit recently ruled that a labor union violated the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”) when it accessed the motor vehicle records of Cintas employees for an improper “labor-organizing” purpose. In Pichler v. UNITE, the divided court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs whose home addresses were obtained as … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds NLRB Test for Unlawful Employer Surveillance of Union Activities

In a unanimous panel opinion issued on January 28, 2008, the Ninth Circuit upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) newly-announced three-factor test for determining whether employer surveillance activity of potential union members is coercive and therefore in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The case, Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas et … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Reaffirms Adequacy of Opt-Out Notice to Protect Privacy of Individual Identity and Contact Information in Litigation

On April 9, 2007, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, affirmed a ruling of the Los Angeles Superior Court permitting the disclosure to counsel for a putative class of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the defendant's current and former employees unless, following proper opt-out notice, they objected in writing to the disclosure. … Continue Reading
LexBlog