Vanessa A. Fazio's blog

Employee Surveillance: How Big Brother Could Be Your Boss

When it comes to employee surveillance, will your electronic communications be spared from your employer's watchful eye? The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey will soon consider this question in the context of social networks. Two Houston restaurant employees are suing their former employer, alleging their termination was based on their boss improperly accessing personal comments they made outside of work on a private, password-protected social network: MySpace. See Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, Docket No. 2:06-cv-05754 (D.N.J. 2008). Given the limitations that federal and state laws place on an employer's monitoring authority, it is unlikely the court will hold that Houston's authority includes private online communications on a social network such as MySpace. Employers should be cautious when walking the fine line between authorized employee-monitoring activities and private employee communications, as surveillance on social networks may expose them to potential legal liability.   read more »

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