Legal Definition:In order to prove invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion, an employee must show:
- The employer intentionally interfered with or invaded the employee’s privacy by intruding in the employee’s private space, eavesdropping on the employee’s private affairs, or inspecting the employee’s private records or belongings;
- The interference or invasion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person;
- The interference or invasion caused the employee injury, damages, or loss; and
- The employee suffered actual injury, damage, or loss.
[See RAJI (Civil) 6th Edition 2017 (Privacy Tort Instructions)]
Issues in the Employment Context
Whether or not you have a right to privacy at your workspace is dependent on many factors, including your employer’s policy manual or handbook and whether your desk or storage area is locked.
Generally, you do not have an expectation of privacy on your employer-provided computer. That means your employer can likely search your emails and internet records.
Employers can also generally monitor your use of an employer-provided telephone. Your employer cannot eavesdrop on your personal cell phone, however if you are having a private conversation in a public place in your office, your right to privacy is diminished.
Your employer generally cannot search your personal vehicle, and your employer cannot surveil you in private areas like bathrooms or dressing rooms.
It is important to note that all privacy rights are very fact-specific. Additionally, these rights can be waived.
Aiken Schenk has a team of experienced employment attorneys that are here to help. Michael Petitti, Burr Shields, and Natalie Virden can be your advocate when you need it. At Aiken Schenk, we’re in this with you.
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