This site is being made available pro bono for research purposes only.

A listing of case summaries by date posted is set out in the sidebar. TO SEARCH this LawBlog's more that 5,000 case summaries type in a word or phrase in the box in the upper left and any material containing the word or phrase will be displayed for your review.

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

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:
http://www.employmentlawdaily.com/index.php/news/expert-discusses-implications-for-employee-privacy-in-texting-case-before-supreme-court/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CCH-Workday+%28CCH+WorkDay%29

NEW YORK PUBLIC PERSONNEL LAW ELECTRONIC HANDBOOKS

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees in New York State. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

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

Please Note:

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or additions or amendments to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed or otherwise have had an impact on the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.

THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, REMEMBER THAT CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG.

THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that the publisher, editor, contributors or members of the staff are not providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to seek such advice from a competent professional.


New York Public Personnel Law Copyright© 1987 - 2020

E-mail inquiries to publications@nycap.rr.com

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.