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by Barbara Kate Repa | March 31, 2009


There are specific laws that forbid employers from being overly invasive. However, your most powerful weapon may be to file a lawsuit against your employer claiming invasion of privacy. And the most likely way to win such a case is to show that in the process of collecting information on you, the employer was guilty of one or more of the following.

Deception. Your employer asked you to submit to a routine medical examination, for example, but mentioned nothing about a drug test. However, the urine sample that you gave to the examining physician was analyzed for drug traces, and because drugs were found in your urine, you were fired.

Violation of confidentiality. Your employer asked you to fill in a health questionnaire and assured you that the information would be held in confidence for the company's use only. But you later found out that the health information was divulged to a prospective employer that inquired about you.

Secret, intrusive monitoring. Installing visible video cameras above a supermarket's cash registers would usually be considered a legitimate method of ensuring that employees are not stealing from the company. But installing hidden video cameras above the stalls in an employee restroom would probably qualify as an invasion of privacy in all but the highest security jobs.

Intrusion on your private life. Your employer hired a private detective, for example, to monitor where you go in the evening when you're not at work. When the company discovered that you are active in a gay rights organization, you were told to resign from that group or risk losing your job.


Filed Under: Workplace Issues