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City of Ontario v. Quon (US 2010)

Articles Discussing Case:

Supreme Court Recognizes Right Of Public Employers To Search Electronic Communications.

Fisher Phillips • June 18, 2010
On June 17, 2010 the U. S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a public employer's search of an employee's text messages was reasonable and did not violate the employee's constitutional rights. The decision overturned a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which found the employer's search was unreasonable in scope and, therefore, violated the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

In “Sexting” Case, Supreme Court Unanimously Supports Employer’s Search of Employee’s Text Messages, But Refuses to Announce a Rule For All.

Franczek Radelet P.C • June 18, 2010
The Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in City of Ontario v. Quon—the first Supreme Court case directly addressing public employees’ privacy rights with respect to communications via employer-issued communications devices such as pagers, cell phones and smart phones. In the 9-0 decision (with two concurring opinions), the Court held that a California city’s review of two months’ worth of text messages on a police officer’s city-issued pager was reasonable where the city was concerned that, among other things, it might be paying for employees’ personal use of those pagers. Notably, the Court took pains to limit its holding to the particular facts of the case, making clear that it wished to avoid defining the contours of employee privacy rights on new technology before the role of the technology in the workplace and society become clear.

Supreme Court rules that review of public employee's text messages was not a Constitutional violation.

Ogletree Deakins • June 18, 2010
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a city police department's search of an employee/police officer’s text messages was reasonable, and did not violate the individual’s Fourth Amendment (“search and seizure”) rights. City of Ontario v. Quon, No. 08-1332, U.S. Supreme Court (June 17, 2010). While employers have been anticipating the high court’s opinion on whether employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy related to electronic messages, the Supreme Court did not tackle that issue. Instead, the Court assumed that the officer did have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his personal text messages. However, the Court also found that the search was motivated by a legitimate work-related purpose, and was not excessive in scope. Based upon those factors, the Court held that the city's review of the officer's text messages was reasonable and did not violate the employee’s Constitutional Rights. City of Ontario v. Quon, No. 08-1332, U.S. Supreme Court (June 17, 2010).

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