Daniel J. Guttman writes:
With the law of privacy in social media communications evolving, the one constant take-away from court cases looking at social media use and monitoring in the workplace is a reliance on fact-dependent judicial decision making. Even through there is not yet a clear legal standard upon which to judge an employer’s actions, or even a seminal line of cases, what is apparent is a judiciary willing to dig into the facts of a case and fashion remedies that seem objectively fair based upon an employee’s expectation of privacy. This continues to reinforce the need to develop clear social media policy and then to communicate, train and give examples of what is expected and how the employer will enforce its expectations.
A recent example is the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey’s decision in Ehling v. Monmouth Ocean Hosp. Serv. Corp., D.N.J., motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part 5/30/12, where an employee stated a claim that survived a motion to dismiss for invasion of privacy based on a supervisor’s access to the contents of her “friends-only” Facebook page. This access was gained through one of the employee’s Facebook friends who felt compelled by the employer to grant “friend access.” The claim was based upon a theory of invasion of privacy under New Jersey common law. The fact-based decision making adopted by the court made the claim unable to be resolved on a motion to dismiss.
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