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Personal Business Safe at Work

Fox News

April 19, 2010

In a recent case before the Supreme Court involving a SWAT sergeant in California who was texting personal messages on his phone issued by the SWAT department, the Court could ultimately rule that employers have the right to monitor and view employees' texts when they use company resources.  A jury originally found in favor of the department, and the Ninth Circuit Court overturned this ruling.  Scott Vernick was interviewed saying he believed the jury got it right and the Ninth Circuit got it wrong.  Vernick said that using public equipment paid for by the public dollar could come under review by an employer, and he would be shocked if the Supreme Court did not rule in favor of the employer.  Although Vernick felt the Supreme Court would overturn the Ninth Circuit ruling, he said this was still a tough case in that the SWAT Department's policy on personal use of company equipment was not clear as it was altered by the sergeant's supervisor.  The Supreme Court may rule in favor of the employer, but according to Vernick, the lower courts are still dealing with the issue of using personal e-mail on company computers and whether this is considered private information.  However, he reminded that employees should always be careful and mindful of what they send at work.

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