Sunday, December 13, 2009

Supreme Court may decide whether workers' text messages are private

Workplace rights advocates are closely following a California case now before the Supreme Court in which employees for the first time won a constitutional right to privacy in their text messages, even when the messages were sexually explicit comments to co-workers.

Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals broke new ground by ruling that the 4th Amendment and a federal electronic communications law protect the privacy rights of workers who send text messages on devices provided by their employer. The appeals court ruled in favor of police Sgt. Jeff Quon and three fellow officers in Ontario, California who sued after the police chief read their messages.

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