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Employee Privacy Laws

How much privacy can an employee expect in a public workplace? Many employers can monitor an employee’s emails, surfing the internet and phone calls. But, when is the employer crossing the lines into employee privacy? There are many specific laws allowing certain employee privacy. Contact an Expert to gain legal answers and insight regarding laws on employee privacy.

Are there laws on employee privacy?

Not only are there state laws, but there are federal and local legislation that provide protection against an invasion of employees’ privacy. Federal and state laws deal with the confidentiality of personnel files and employees’ to access personnel files along with other searches, drug and alcohol testing, and privacy in the electronic workplace, such as e-mails, telephone, and computer. The courts have created a law to allow employees to sue the employer for invasion of privacy; this covers four factors: intrusion, private affairs, defamation and appropriation of name.

Is it legal in the state of California for an employer to require the employee to take their lunch breaks in a lounge or have to be parked out front of the building?

According to the Labor Code 96 (k), an employee cannot be terminated or disciplined for lawful activities that are during nonworking hours. Since a lunch break is normally considered nonworking time, if the employer is controlling the location where the employee must spend their nonworking hours, it would be unlawful under the California law, because the employee will be entitled to a constitutional right to privacy during nonworking hours.

These laws are very hard for an employee to enforce, and the courts have been unwilling to hold the employers to anything unless it is a very serious violation of an employee’s privacy rights. The employer’s requirements may be considered illegal. It can all depend on the DLSE investigation officer’s interpretation of the law, assuming the employee was to file a wage claim.

When an Outplacement company gives another company employment status about an employee that they terminated, is this considered employee privacy violation?

If the previous employer has contacted this outplacement company to help the previous employee with their employment status it will not be considered an invasion of privacy to provide these status reports, especially if an issue with unemployment is involved.

Do employees have any rights to any privacy laws as to what is shared to a previous employer?

A previous employer has the right to disclose information on past employees to any future employers. Many employers choose not to give out this information because they do not want to be accused of releasing false information and have a potential court case because of this. Laws allow an employer to give out employment and employment history to a future employer along with any evaluations or reasons for discharges or termination of employment with any employers who may ask for this information.

In the state of California can an employer release information to someone about an employee’s work schedule?

In the state of California there are no laws that prohibit an employer from releasing an employee’s schedule to a third party. There is no privacy interest in an employee’s schedule. Many times an employee feels that their employer is invading their privacy. Many times that is the case, and other times, the employee does not completely understand the employee privacy rights in the workplace. Experts can provide many legal answers and insight relating to many employee privacy issues

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8108
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
characters left:
7 Employment Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

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    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Employment Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7759
JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9785
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

Recent Privacy Questions

  • I am a Physician employed in a group practice(anesthesiology).

    I am a Physician employed in a group practice(anesthesiology). The President of the group, he is sole owner and will not allow any other shareholders, is also Dept Chair. There are 18 Doctors in total and 3 CRNAs. 4 days ago we found out he'd changed our Group Health Plan without notifying us. This , of course has irritated(understatement) most of us. When I tried to discuss with him why this was inappropriate he expressed resentment that I would challenge his decisions.
    Is his changing our insurance without notice legal?
    What recourse if any do we have?
  • I'm a head chef at a restaurant. I had an employee call out

    I'm a head chef at a restaurant. I had an employee call out three weeks in a row on our busiest days. Needed him to cover shift for someone else. Could not reach him on phone.he doesn't have his own phone. Sent another emp!oyee to knock on door. He claims this is an invasion of privacy. Is it?
  • Have a very disgruntled 55+ female manager in a construction

    Have a very disgruntled 55+ female manager in a construction business in a right to work state. Has been extremely poor in job performance but no documented write ups. Had two of her co-workers state that she said she was going to sue me for privacy law infringements because I have had multiple employees complain of her talking down about me, the company and fellow co-workers. She has also allegedly accused me of "bugging" the office. Would I have any possible legal ramifications if I terminated her
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