Employee’s Privacy Rights Using Employer’s Electronic Communication Equipment Before US Supreme Court

A United States case regarding the privacy of text messages sent by employees from their work cell phones is going before the U.S. Supreme Court. Although this is a U.S. matter, the decision, when made in the summer of 2010, may change how electronic media is used in many Canadian workplaces.

In general, electronic media abuse is a controversial issue shared on both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border and has been the topic of many wrongful dismissal claims. The position of many employers on this issue is that since the electronic devices are only provided for work related matters and are actually owned by the employer, the employer is able to review the use of this equipment and discipline employees for any non-work related and/or inappropriate use. Employees, however, believe that although the equipment is provided by the employer for work related use, an employee does not waive their right to privacy when such equipment is used for personal matters.

More information can be found on the following sites:

The New York Times

Los Angeles Times


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