The New Jersey Appellate Division (Doe v. XYC Corporation) and the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin (Maypark v. Securitas Serv. USA Inc. & Sigler v. Kobinsky) have both examined an employer’s duty to monitor employees conduct while at work, and have reached drastically different results. Additionally, at least seven states—Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota—have enacted laws requiring computer technicians or Internet service providers to report child pornography if they encounter it in the scope of their work. 

New Jersey. In Doe v. XYC, the company’s IT department noticed an employee was accessing pornographic web pages while at work. Despite numerous complaints and suspicious usage by the employee, management took no formal action except to instruct the employee to stop visiting inappropriate web pages. Following the employee’s marriage to the Plaintiff, the employee took nude and semi-nude pictures of Plaintiff’s 10-year-old daughter and uploaded the photos to child porn web pages using his work computer. The employee was arrested and charged, and the Plaintiff sued the company, alleging that it knew or should have known of the employee’s conduct and had a duty to report it. The state Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision that no duty existed. It held that XYC Corporation knew or should have known the employee was accessing child pornography at work, and further had a duty to investigate and report it. Thus, in New Jersey, where an employer has the right and ability to monitor Internet usage and the employee has no expectation of privacy, employers have a duty to investigate and report the access of child pornography if they know or should have known an employee was doing so. For a detailed analysis of Doe, click here

Wisconsin. In Maypark v. Securitas, the plaintiff sued an employer for allowing a former employee, a security guard, to post photographs of the plaintiff’s employees on an adult website.   An earlier Wisconsin case, Sigler v. Kobinsky, held that a company could not be held liable for alleged negligent supervision leading to an employee’s use of a company computer to harass plaintiffs where there is no probability of harm. Specifically, a company had no duty to monitor because it was not reasonably foreseeable that providing employees with unsupervised Internet access would probably result in harm.   Relying on Sigler, the Court in Maypark overturned a $1.4 million negligence verdict against the security company, finding the guard’s action were not foreseeable.

Given the unsettled law on this issue, employers should consider several important factors when it comes to monitoring of employees. The Society for Human Resource Management published an article (*registration required) analyzing this issue. The article provides a number of suggestions, including that of our own Nadine Abrahams, a Jackson Lewis Partner in our Chicago office, who suggests the first step should be setting up a procedure for the immediate reporting of child pornography that has been discovered and the designation of a company representative who should be notified.   Additional steps include:

  • Institution of clear, effective and thorough computer usage and monitoring polices, which also address employee expectation of privacy;
  • Training of employees conducting any monitoring;
  • Prompt investigation of computer usage and allegations of unlawful conduct; and
  • Consultation with legal counsel regarding the duty to report to authorities. 


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Photo of Jason C. Gavejian Jason C. Gavejian

Jason C. Gavejian is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group. Jason is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy…

Jason C. Gavejian is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group. Jason is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

As a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US), Jason focuses on the matrix of laws governing privacy, security, and management of data. Jason is co-editor of, and a regular contributor to, the firm’s Workplace Privacy, Data Management & Security Report blog.

Jason’s work in the area of privacy and data security includes counseling international, national, and regional companies on the vast array of privacy and security mandates, preventive measures, policies, procedures, and best practices. This includes, but is not limited to, the privacy and security requirements under state, federal, and international law (e.g., HIPAA/HITECH, GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), FTC Act, ECPA, SCA, GLBA etc.). Jason helps companies in all industries to assess information risk and security as part of the development and implementation of comprehensive data security safeguards including written information security programs (WISP). Additionally, Jason assists companies in analyzing issues related to: electronic communications, social media, electronic signatures (ESIGN/UETA), monitoring and recording (GPS, video, audio, etc.), biometrics, and bring your own device (BYOD) and company owned personally enabled device (COPE) programs, including policies and procedures to address same. He regularly advises clients on compliance issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and has represented clients in suits, including class actions, brought in various jurisdictions throughout the country under the TCPA.

Jason represents companies with respect to inquiries from the HHS/OCR, state attorneys general, and other agencies alleging wrongful disclosure of personal/protected information. He negotiates vendor agreements and other data privacy and security agreements, including business associate agreements. His work in the area of privacy and data security includes counseling and coaching clients through the process of investigating and responding to breaches of the personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) they maintain about consumers, customers, employees, patients, and others, while also assisting clients in implementing policies, practices, and procedures to prevent future data incidents.

Jason represents management exclusively in all aspects of employment litigation, including restrictive covenants, class-actions, harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and wage and hour claims in both federal and state courts. He regularly appears before administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. Jason’s practice also focuses on advising/counseling employers regarding daily workplace issues.

Jason’s litigation experience, coupled with his privacy practice, provides him with a unique view of many workplace issues and the impact privacy, data security, and social media may play in actual or threatened lawsuits.

Jason regularly provides training to both executives and employees and regularly speaks on current privacy, data security, monitoring, recording, BYOD/COPE, biometrics (BIPA), social media, TCPA, and information management issues. His views on these topics have been discussed in multiple publications, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle (SFGATE), National Law Review, Bloomberg BNA,, @Law Magazine, Risk and Insurance Magazine, LXBN TV, Business Insurance Magazine, and

Jason is the co-leader of Jackson Lewis’ Hispanic Attorney resource group, a group committed to increasing the firm’s visibility among Hispanic-American and other minority attorneys, as well as mentoring the firm’s attorneys to assist in their training and development. He also previously served on the National Leadership Committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and regularly volunteers his time for pro bono matters.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Jason served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Richard J. Donohue on the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.