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Do Employers Have the Right to Access Private Texts Sent From Company Phones?

If You Send a Text From Your Work Phone, Is It Fair Game For Employers to See?

That's the case that will soon go in front of the US Supreme Court, and it's likely they're going to rule in favor of the employer. After a California cop used his police department pager to send a ton of messages (some explicit) to his estranged wife and mistress, his employer looked into his text usage and read the messages. The police officer sued his employer, claiming an expectation of privacy, and won. Now, California is fighting back, claiming no wrongdoing — and it has taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

This particular case focuses on people employed in the public sector using devices paid for by taxpayers, but it could set a precedent for any company that provides its employees with cell phones, laptop computers, and any other mobile device. If texts and emails are sent on company devices, should employers be privy to them? And if so, should they have to disclose this before giving you the device?

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Akasha Akasha 5 years
If the company is paying for your technology they have the right to see what you are doing with it. I don't even send innocuous personal emails with my work computer. My boss once asked me why I bring my personal laptop to work and I flat out told him that I use my computer when corresponding to my contacts that I made before I was brought to the company. Because I have previous relationships with these people I am never sure if they are going to disclose sensitive information from a previous job, and since he provides the computer and has control over my work email I can't guarantee security unless I only respond with my unit. At first he was annoyed, but when I explained that I had sign confidentiality paperwork with the previous companies and I wasn't in the position to ensure that I wasn't violating them unless I kept my contact confidential he finally had to acquiesce.
jmichelle jmichelle 5 years
Just the way you have to maintain professionalism in e-mails you should do the same with phones & pagers. Why would you use a work pager to send such things?
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