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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Court Found No Invasion of Privacy In Viewing Employee's Cell Phone

A retail cashier was summoned to a meeting with her supervisor and the store's HR manager to discuss rumors that she was having a relationship with her manager. At that meeting, she alleges she was told to turn over her cell phone or be fired. She turned over her phone, and alleges the HR manager transferred data from her phone to his phone. After the meeting, she alleges she was shunned by her coworkers and eventually resigned. She then sued, seeking damages for an alleged invasion of privacy, defamation, and emotional distress. 

The court ruled in favor of the employer. Although employees are entitled to a right of privacy, the plaintiff did not meet her burden to show that the intrusion was "highly offensive to a reasonable person."  According to the HR manager's affidavit, he did not read all of her text messages, but only those between the plaintiff and her manager. 

The court also noted that she had shared many of these text messages with coworkers. As a result, she could have no expectation of privacy in matters she had  openly displayed to others. In short, plaintiff failed to prove her case against her employer.  Kaczmarek v. Cabela's Retail, Inc.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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