Tag Archives: Employee Privacy

New Ruling in European Employee Monitoring Case

On September 5, 2017, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) issued its ruling on appeal in the case of Bărbulescu v. Romania, concerning alleged unlawful workplace monitoring of Mr. Barbulescu’s private communications. Overturning the ECtHR’s prior ruling in the case (covered by Inside Privacy here), the Grand Chamber held that … Continue Reading

EU Article 29 Working Party Releases Extensive GDPR Guidance on Data Processing at Work

By Dan Cooper and Rosie Klement The EU’s Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”) has issued new guidance on data processing in the employment context (available here).  Adopted on June 8, 2017, the guidance primarily takes account of the existing data protection framework under the EU Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC), but also considers the developments coming … Continue Reading

European Court of Human Rights Rules That Employers Can Monitor Employee Private Communications

On January 12, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that an employer who had monitored an employee’s private communications during working hours had not breached the employee’s right to privacy (under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights). This judgment will influence how other European national courts and regulators view … Continue Reading

Video: A Conversation with Covington about the Latest NLRB Facebook Case

Meena Harris, a member of Covington’s Global Privacy and Data Security Practice Group, spoke with LXBN TV about the National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling that two employees of a sports bar and restaurant were unlawfully discharged for their participation in a Facebook discussion criticizing their employer.  You can view the interview here.… Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Employee’s Facebook “Like” and Comment Protected By Labor Law

Last Friday, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled that two employees of a sports bar and restaurant were unlawfully discharged for their participation in a Facebook discussion criticizing their employer.  In the Facebook discussion that prompted the firings, a former employee complained in a status update that she owed more taxes than expected because … Continue Reading

EEOC and FTC Issue Joint Guidance on Background Checks Performed by Employers

By Lindsay Burke and Brian Fitzpatrick On March 10, 2014, the EEOC and the FTC issued joint guidance on how the anti-discrimination laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) apply to background checks performed by employers for employment application purposes. This guidance is published in two documents, one directed at employers and the other … Continue Reading

New Jersey Restricts Employer Access to Employees’ Personal Online Accounts

New Jersey has enacted restrictions on the ability of employers to access employees’ social media accounts, becoming the twelfth state to enact such legislation. More than 30 state legislatures have considered bills on the topic in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Restrictions in New Jersey New Jersey’s new law, signed … Continue Reading

Federal Court Finds Stored Communications Act Applies to Facebook Wall Posts

A New Jersey federal court recently held that an employee’s Facebook wall posts were protected by the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq., in one of the first cases to analyze the SCA’s application to the Facebook wall.  Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp.., No. 2:11-cv-3305 (WMJ) (D.N.J. Aug. 20, 2013).  An … Continue Reading

The NLRB Strikes Down Employer Policies on Social Media and the Confidentiality of Complaint Investigations

Many employers have been surprised by recent rulings that two common employment policies run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) even if their employees are not union members.  Based on a legitimate interest in preserving confidentiality and privacy, many employers have adopted social media policies limiting what employees may post on Facebook or … Continue Reading

BYOD’s Rapid Growth Presents New Legal Challenges

Companies are increasingly allowing employees to access work email and apps on their personal devices, according to a new Gartner survey of chief information officers.  But employers confront many tough policy and legal questions when they adopt Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) programs. Thirty-eight percent of the CIOs said that their organizations will stop providing … Continue Reading

Utah, New Mexico, Arkansas are Latest States to Restrict Access by Employers or Schools to Personal Social Media Accounts

After gaining prominence in 2012, state legislation restricting access to personal social media accounts by employers and schools has remained active.  Three more states have enacted their own restrictions thus far in 2013, and bills are pending in more than two dozen other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2012, Illinois … Continue Reading

New ICO Guidance Offers Employers Practical Advice on Implementing Safer “Bring Your Own Device” Policies

On 7 March 2013, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued new guidance on the use of personal devices for business purposes. The guidance is largely informed by a survey commissioned by the ICO and carried out by the market research firm YouGov. According to the survey, 47% of adults in the UK use personal … Continue Reading

Bill Would Set Federal Restrictions on Employer, School Access to Personal Online Accounts

A bill reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday would prohibit employers and schools from requesting or demanding access to employees’ or students’ personal social-media accounts. The bill, titled the “Social Networking Online Protection Act,” would bar employers from requesting or requiring that employees or job applicants provide the employer access to personal … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Limits Marital Communications Privilege for Email

The Fourth Circuit recently ruled that the marital communications privilege does not always apply to email that is sent from a work account. A federal jury convicted former Virginia state legislator Phillip A. Hamilton of federal program bribery and extortion under color of right.  During trial, the court admitted email messages that Hamilton sent to … Continue Reading

New Jersey Restricts Colleges’ Access to Students’ Personal Accounts, Considers Similar Protections for Employees

New Jersey earlier this month became the latest state to bar college and university officials from demanding access to students’ or applicants’ personal online accounts.  Gov. Chris Christie signed the law, which takes effect immediately, on Dec. 3. Under the new law, which applies to public and private higher-education institutions, schools cannot require a student or … Continue Reading

Ex-Employee is Not Required to Produce iPhone in Discovery

A New York state appellate court recently ruled that a company does not have the right to access a former employee’s personal iPhone during discovery in employment litigation. As a financial analyst for AllianceBernstein, L.P., William Atha used his personal iPhone to contact clients, and he stored some clients’ contact information on the iPhone.  Shortly after … Continue Reading

Employer Liable for Conduct of Private Investigators

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled last week that employers may face civil liability for privacy violations committed by their outside investigators. North American Corporation of Illinois retained a firm to investigate whether its former salesperson, Kathleen Lawlor, had violated a noncompetition agreement.  North American provided the firm with Lawlor’s birth date, address, home and mobile … Continue Reading

New California Laws Restrict Employer, College Access to Personal Social-Media Content

California is the latest state to enact legislation restricting the circumstances under which employers or schools can demand access to employees’ or students’ personal social media accounts. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills into law on Sept. 27.  The first, A.B. 1844, bars employers from requiring or requesting that employees or job applicants disclose … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Updated Report on “Overbroad” Social Media Policies

By Brian Ryoo On May 30, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Acting General Counsel Lafe E. Solomon issued his third report on employer social media issues, focusing on “overbroad” employer social media policies.  The report expresses concern about “ambiguous [policies] that contain no limiting language or context” and give employees insufficient notice of their protected … Continue Reading

N.J. Federal Court: Privacy Claim Based on Coerced Access to Employee’s Facebook Posts May Proceed

A federal district court in New Jersey ruled this week that an employer might have invaded an employee’s common-law privacy rights by coercing a co-worker into giving the employer access to the employee’s Facebook profile. The plaintiff, a nurse and paramedic employed by a non-profit hospital service corporation, alleges that her supervisor forced a co-worker … Continue Reading

Maryland and Illinois Introduce Bills to Limit Employer Access to Employees’ Social Networking Accounts

Lawmakers in Maryland and Illinois have introduced bills that would prohibit employers from requiring job applicants or employees to grant access to their social networking accounts.  The bills arose from reports that employers have impliedly or explicitly required access to social networking accounts as a condition of hiring or employment. A few bills have been … Continue Reading

New California Law Restricts Use of Credit Reports for Employment Purposes

Earlier this week, California became the latest state to restrict the use of consumer credit reports in the employment context, as Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law A.B. 22.  As we previously have blogged, a growing number of states–including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, and Maryland–have augmented the protections provided by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act … Continue Reading

Missouri Closer to Repealing Controversial Restrictions on Teachers’ Internet Use

Yesterday, the Missouri State Senate voted unanimously to repeal controversial portions of the state’s Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, which restricts how teachers can use the Internet.  If passed by the state House and signed by the governor, the repeal bill would eliminate restrictions on teachers’ maintenance of non-public “work-related” websites and social networking contact … Continue Reading
LexBlog