Court ruling on text messages being private

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 07-10-08 AT 06:55PM (CST)[/font][br][br]Looks like the court is categorizing text messaging as being closer to phone conversations than e-mail.....

There was a recent ruling in the 9th U.S. Circuit Courts (Quon v. Arch Wireless) that indicated employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they send text messages even through the devices they send them on are employer owned.

Even if you have policies giving consent to do this it may not enable you to legally review these records based under rights given in the Constitution.

Sure makes it tough for employers as it sounds like they found sexually explicit messages while they were looking at overall usage. If you don't act upon that you then potentially set yourself up for a sexual harassment case....


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  • I have read several reviews of the case by employment attorneys. The critical point, I believe, is that the ruling was based on the specific facts that the employer set up a practice that established an expectation of privacy for text messages. The message to take away is that we, as employers, need to establish practices that do not give employees an expectation of privacy. Our policy on use of office and telecommunications equipment specifically states that employees do not have an expectation of privacy when using computers and other equipment. However, the policy does not specifically address text messaging. We are in the process of revising the policy to include text messaging.
  • Close to home, the principal of my cousin's daughters private school was arrested for innappropriate sexual conduct with a 14 year old girl. Text messages (apparently over 100 of them) were the tip off to her parents what was happening.

    Principal has been placed on administrative leave. He is married with a family.
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