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Employee Privacy in New Jersey

How much privacy do you really have at work?

Not much!  New Jersey employees should be particularly careful not to engage in sensitive personal communications at work.

Can your employer read the e-mail you send and receive from your company account?

In most cases, the answer is yes.  Even the smallest employers typically have policies that e-mail servers, like fax machines and copy machines, are property of the company.  Employees, therefore, have no “reasonable expectation of privacy” with respect to e-mails on their company account.  In a recent case, a federal judge in New Jersey went so far as to hold that an employer was entitled to review e-mails between an employee and her attorney that were sent from her work address!  See Kaufman v. SunGard Invest. Sys., 05-cv-1236 (D.N.J. May 10, 2006).

Can your boss listen in on your phone calls? 

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities allows employers to monitor employees’ telephone conversations.  In some industries (such as securities), various phone calls are required to be monitored.  The good news is that employers are only allowed to monitor calls for specified purposes (such as training, quality assurance, etc.) and employees must be informed in advance that their calls are subject to monitoring.

Can your employer force you to take random drug tests? See Drug Testing in New Jersey

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