As the holidays approach, I am reminded of an employment law attorney I used to know who wrote a column about this time of year about holiday parties. He would warn Human Resources (“HR”) professionals to beware of sexual harassment issues as the punch flows and inhibitions dissipate at the annual office get-together.  How things have

Florida has joined 20 other states have enacted legislation addressing teen sexting. Because employees frequently transmit these materials using their employer’s networks, retail, entertainment, hospitality and other industries that traditionally employ large numbers of younger workers may soon get dragged into criminal proceedings because of “sexting” by their younger workers.
Continue Reading Florida’s New “Sexting” Law Makes it Criminal for Minors to Transmit Sexually Explicit Materials Electronically

As highlighted by many news sources, including CNN.com and MSNBC.com, the United States Supreme Court listened to oral argument (pdf) today in the case of City of Ontario v. Quon today. This is the case involving a police officer who claimed his employer violated his privacy when it read the personal text messages (which happened

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent grant of certiorari in City of Ontario, Ontario Police Department, and Lloyd Scharf v. Jeff Quon, et al. highlights the effects new technologies continue to have on workplace privacy issues. One issue the Court will consider is whether a California police department violated the privacy of one of its officers when it read the personal text messages on his department issued pager. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Court sided with the police officer when it ruled that users of text messaging services “have a reasonable expectation of privacy” regarding messages stored on the service provider’s network.

The underlying suit was filed by police Sgt. Jeff Quon, his wife, his girlfriend, and another police sergeant after one of Quon’s superiors audited his messages and found that many of them were sexually explicit and personal in nature.   Among the defendants were the City of Ontario, the Ontario Police Department, and Arch Wireless Operating. Co. Inc. Plaintiffs sought damages for alleged violation of their privacy rights.

While this case involves a public sector entity, its outcome is likely to affect electronic communications policies and practices across the country, whether by public or privacy employers.  

Continue Reading Texting & Sexting – Supreme Court to Consider Employees’ Expectation of Privacy in Text Messages