Saturday, June 19, 2010
Supreme Court: Employers Allowed to Search Employees' Text Messages
Employees better think twice about texting at work. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court today ruled that government employers can legally look at their employees' text messages on government-issued devices, if the inspection has "a legitimate work-related purpose."The court did not address the privacy rights of employees at private companies.The case involved an Ontario, Calif., police officer, who had his pager examined after running over his text message limit. In the process, the department found that he had been sending sexually explicit messages to a mistress, and he sued over a violation of his privacy.In their decision, the justices sided with the city, and noted that mobile devices have become so ubiquitous and generally affordable that employees should purchase their own for personal use.