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N.B. §22 of New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL typically follows this protocol.
NYPPL's most recent posting is set out below.
June 4, 2010
Employee privacy in texting case to be decided by US Supreme Court
Source: Posted on the Internet in CCH Workday [ http://www.employmentlawdaily.com/ ] Reproduced with permission. Copyright© CCH 2010, All rights reserved.*
On December 14, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to review whether or not a public employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages sent to and from his work-issued pager that were stored in the server system of a third-party service provider (City of Ontario v Quon, Dkt No 08-1332). The case is currently pending before the Court. In the meantime, it is worth considering the potential implications of Supreme Court action.
A third-party service provider contracted with the city of Ontario, California, to provide wireless text-messaging services using pagers. The city distributed the pagers to its employees, including the police department of which the employee was a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. While it had no policy explicitly addressing text-messaging using pagers, the city did have a general “Computer Usage, Internet, and E-mail Policy,” which stated that use of those devices was limited to city business only and that employees were to have no expectation of privacy when using those devices. City employees also signed an acknowledgment to that effect.
As part of an overage audit, the employer read transcripts of the messages sent by the employee from his work-issued pager, and determined that many of the messages were personal (and even sexually explicit) in nature. After learning that their messages were read by their employer, the officer and the officers he texted sued the city for violating their privacy rights.
As it currently stands, the law allows employers to adopt lawful policies relating to computer, Internet, and e-mail use to protect the assets and reputation of a business, ensure employee productivity, and guarantee compliance with corporate policies. Employers may enforce such policies by disciplining an employee who violates the policy.
* From an Interview conducted by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer company, of Joseph Poluka, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Blank Rome LLP, and Michelle Gitlitz Courtney, 1 Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103; telephone: 215-569-5500 (www.blankrome.com).
The full text of the article is posted on the Internet at:
The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees in
A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - Determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/7401.html
Disability Benefits for fire, police and other public sector personnel - Addresses retirement for disability under the NYS Employees' Retirement System, the NYS Teachers' Retirement System, General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and similar statutes providing benefits to employees injured both "on-the-job" and "off-the-job." For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html
The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual -Focusing on relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html
SELECTED REFERENCES and BLOGS
- A Handbook addressing disciplining public employees
- A Handbook focusing on imposing reasonable disciplinary penalties
- A Handbook focusing on layoff and reinstatement
- A Handbook on Disability Benefits for public employees
- A sample personnel handbook
- Blogging Administrative Law
- Blogging Civil Rights Law
- Blogging Constitutional Law
- Blogging Disability Law
- Blogging Education Law
- Blogging Employment Law
- Blogging Government Law
- Blogging Human Rights Law
- Blogging Legal Information
- Blogging Military Law
- Blogging public libraries
- Catalog of Law Blogs
- Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions
- Delaware Employment Law Blog
- Gotham schools newsroom - A NYC school news blog
- New York City ERS blog - by John Murphy
- NY Municipalities - NYMUNIBLOG
- ReformNY - by NYU's Brennan Center for Justice
- St. Lawrence County Civil Service Web Site
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Text prepared by Harvey Randall except as otherwise noted. Randall, former Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service, also served as Director of Personnel for the State University System; as Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and as Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. He has an MPA from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University and a J.D. from Albany Law School.