Supreme Court to Rule on Employee Texting Privacy

Apparently over in the good ole US of A, there is a bit of a hoohaa going on over if employees should have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to text messages when using a mobile phone which is owned by their employer reports the Washington Post.

Apparently what it’s all about is a police officer sent some sexually explicit text messages to his girlfriend using his department issued pager and the cop’s chief discovered said messages, and apparently the court has say the chief’s decision to read said texts without suspicion is a wrongdoing due to the chief violating 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

The federal appeals court in California has decided that the Ontario police officer does have the right to privacy with text he sent on the departmental pager. This ruling is the first of its kind and apparently produced a “deep divide” among the circuit judges.

Apparently on checking it was found that only 57 on the officers 450 messages where business related, but the main point of the officer’s case is that the department issues a message when it handed the pagers to SWAT team members, which said that officers using the pager for personal purposes could pay for any overage charges.

So basically the department sort of said it’s ok to use the pager for personal messages as long as they foot the overage bill. However the city told the Supreme Court that the panel had got it wrong as the SWAT team sergeant failed to comport himself as a reasonable officer would have.

Chicago lawyer, Jane McFetridge, who often represents employers in workplace issues, says that in the world of mobile phones, BlackBerry’s and laptops the line between personal and business use is often blurred but employers are tolerant “within the realm of reason.”

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