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Ontario v. Quon Decision Provides "Useful Guidance"

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

June 18, 2010

The New York Times reports on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on a case involving the privacy of employee text messages. In a unanimous decision on City of Ontario v. Quon, the court determined that the search of a police officer's personal messages on his government-owned pager did not violate his constitutional rights. The ruling offers useful guidance for private employers, says Littler Mendelson partner Philip Gordon in the Workplace Privacy Counsel blog. Specifically, he says the court's assertion that the employer's search was reasonable and legitimate "demonstrates that private employers can substantially reduce their potential exposure on privacy-based claims by acting reasonably when searching and reviewing employees' electronic communications." Gordon also says employers should heed the court's emphasis on "the importance of a well-crafted and broadly distributed electronic resources policy."
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