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Privacy Issues At Work

Technology is a boon to business, but it also raises complicated issues of privacy in the workplace. The vast majority of businesses use computers, and technology has enabled employers to monitor nearly every aspect of workplace communications involving employees' computer and telephone usage. Indeed, many companies take advantage of technology to monitor their employees' use of the Internet and email. When an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy, however, such as with a physical space like a locked office, the employee may receive privacy protection. Drug testing by an employer, on the other hand, when the testing is reasonable and not a highly offensive intrusion, is usually acceptable. To help you determine what is and is not private in the workplace, contact Farber Legal, LLC in Bethesda, MD, to schedule a consultation to discuss the validity of your company's privacy policies and procedures with an employment law attorney.

Employer's Right to Monitor Computer Usage

Employees who use company computers do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding what they do on those computers. Emails in the company email system are stored by employers, and employers have the right to search, monitor and view employee email as long as there is a valid business purpose for doing so. Employees may be disciplined or fired if their emails violate company policy or the law. Emails are frequently being used as evidence during unlawful discharge trials to show employee misconduct or wrongdoing.

Employers have the right to track the Web sites visited by their employees on company computers, to block employees from visiting specific Internet sites and to limit the amount of time an employee may spend on a specific Web site.

Employer's Right to Monitor Phone Calls and Voice Mail Messages

The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) places some limitations on an employer's right to monitor its employees' telephone usage at work. Under the Act, an employer usually may not monitor an employee's personal phone calls, even those made from telephones on work premises. An employer may only monitor a personal call if the employee knows the particular call is being monitored and consents to it. An employer may not intercept an employee's voice mail, but it may be allowed to access voice mail messages that are in "electronic storage" on the company system.

Employer's Right to Conduct Post-Hiring Drug Testing

An employer may be able to require its employees to submit to drug screening; many state laws, however, limit the circumstances in which an employer may test for drugs and the methods it may use to perform such tests. An employer may generally test its employees for drug use if it limits the testing to:

  • Workers whose jobs expose them or others to a great deal of risk
  • Workers who have completed a drug rehabilitation program or are currently enrolled in such a program
  • Workers who have been involved in a work-related accident in which drug use was suspected
  • Workers whom management reasonably believes have been using drugs, based on physical evidence or behavior

Speak to an Employment Law Attorney

Employees have general and specific rights to privacy in the workplace, but these rights are balanced against employers' rights to monitor business operations. If privacy is at issue in your workplace, contact Farber Legal, LLC in Bethesda, MD, today to schedule a consultation with an employment lawyer.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

MINDY G. FARBER RATED AS AV WITH MARTINDALE HUBBELL

Occasionally Martindale-Hubbell, the premier rater of attorneys in the United States, reevaluates attorneys who have been in practice for a number of years. Ms. Farber is proud to announce that on the basis of Martindale Hubbell’s confidential surveying of attorneys in her field as well as other practicing attorneys, Ms. Farber has received the very highest positive rating.

AV rated
Preeminent TM
Meets Very High Criteria of General Ethical Standards? Yes
AV
Overall Peer Rating
in Labor and Employment, Consumer Law and Litigation

Posted by a Private Practice Lawyer on 07/13/15 5.0 out of 5.0

Ms. Farber is an excellent attorney and a very compassionate human being. That is why for quite a number of years, I have referred my client's employee claim matters to her and no one else. She has always represented them in a first class fashion and I have never heard one complaint. I highly recommend her for the highest rating possible.

Hello Mindy

Thank you very much for your guidance. The letter with our changes was approved and signed
Thank you VERY much for your straightforward, professional guidance and kindness and understanding in what was
a pretty surprising situation. With this behind me, however, I am moving forward, . Best of luck and thank you again for your expertise!

Lu Steele Bethesda, MD

 

Hi Mindy,
I am retiring on April 3rd, so I don't have too many days left! I will miss working with you as you are one of the finest attorneys I have ever dealt with during my 40 year (Federal) career.

- Lori Suto Goldsby, Head of Mediation Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

“First and foremost, I want to thank you very much for all of your help with my case. As you know, you came recommended through a friend whose cousin works at the Montgomery County Police Department. I was aware of your reputation, but having experienced it personally, I can say I am extremely impressed.”

- M. Brown Washington, DC

 

Dear Ms. Farber,
It was a pleasure speaking with you on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. I have had a career in law enforcement, over 38 years' experience as a private investigator, and I am currently employed as a Federal EEO Investigator. Never before have I had the pleasure of an attorney putting forth the effort that you have displayed in returning my phone call, and establishing a relationship that causes me to look forward to our continued professional communications. Your extensive 38 years' experience and accomplishments certainly have not dimmed your enthusiasm, and I appreciate it.

- Sincerely,
Robert A. Bolton, EEO Investigator, Office of Resolution Management, La Plata, MD 20646

 

Hi Mindy,
I am retiring on April 3rd, so I don't have too many days left! I will miss working with you as you are one of the finest attorneys I have ever dealt with during my 40 year (Federal) career.

- Lori Suto Goldsby, Head of Mediation Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

“First and foremost, I want to thank you very much for all of your help with my case. As you know, you came recommended through a friend whose cousin works at the Montgomery County Police Department. I was aware of your reputation, but having experienced it personally, I can say I am extremely impressed.”

- M. Brown Washington, DC

 

Dear Ms. Farber,
It was a pleasure speaking with you on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. I have had a career in law enforcement, over 38 years' experience as a private investigator, and I am currently employed as a Federal EEO Investigator. Never before have I had the pleasure of an attorney putting forth the effort that you have displayed in returning my phone call, and establishing a relationship that causes me to look forward to our continued professional communications. Your extensive 38 years' experience and accomplishments certainly have not dimmed your enthusiasm, and I appreciate it.

- Sincerely,
Robert A. Bolton, EEO Investigator, Office of Resolution Management, La Plata, MD 20646

 

Hi Mindy,
I am retiring on April 3rd, so I don't have too many days left! I will miss working with you as you are one of the finest attorneys I have ever dealt with during my 40 year (Federal) career.

- Lori Suto Goldsby, Head of Mediation Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

“First and foremost, I want to thank you very much for all of your help with my case. As you know, you came recommended through a friend whose cousin works at the Montgomery County Police Department. I was aware of your reputation, but having experienced it personally, I can say I am extremely impressed.”

- M. Brown Washington, DC

 

Dear Ms. Farber,
It was a pleasure speaking with you on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. I have had a career in law enforcement, over 38 years' experience as a private investigator, and I am currently employed as a Federal EEO Investigator. Never before have I had the pleasure of an attorney putting forth the effort that you have displayed in returning my phone call, and establishing a relationship that causes me to look forward to our continued professional communications. Your extensive 38 years' experience and accomplishments certainly have not dimmed your enthusiasm, and I appreciate it.

- Sincerely,
Robert A. Bolton, EEO Investigator, Office of Resolution Management, La Plata, MD 20646

 

Hi Mindy,
I am retiring on April 3rd, so I don't have too many days left! I will miss working with you as you are one of the finest attorneys I have ever dealt with during my 40 year (Federal) career.

- Lori Suto Goldsby, Head of Mediation Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

“First and foremost, I want to thank you very much for all of your help with my case. As you know, you came recommended through a friend whose cousin works at the Montgomery County Police Department. I was aware of your reputation, but having experienced it personally, I can say I am extremely impressed.”

- M. Brown Washington, DC

 

Dear Ms. Farber,
It was a pleasure speaking with you on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. I have had a career in law enforcement, over 38 years' experience as a private investigator, and I am currently employed as a Federal EEO Investigator. Never before have I had the pleasure of an attorney putting forth the effort that you have displayed in returning my phone call, and establishing a relationship that causes me to look forward to our continued professional communications. Your extensive 38 years' experience and accomplishments certainly have not dimmed your enthusiasm, and I appreciate it.

- Sincerely,
Robert A. Bolton, EEO Investigator, Office of Resolution Management, La Plata, MD 20646

 

Hi Mindy,
I am retiring on April 3rd, so I don't have too many days left! I will miss working with you as you are one of the finest attorneys I have ever dealt with during my 40 year (Federal) career.

- Lori Suto Goldsby, Head of Mediation Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

“First and foremost, I want to thank you very much for all of your help with my case. As you know, you came recommended through a friend whose cousin works at the Montgomery County Police Department. I was aware of your reputation, but having experienced it personally, I can say I am extremely impressed.”

- M. Brown Washington, DC

 

Dear Ms. Farber,
It was a pleasure speaking with you on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. I have had a career in law enforcement, over 38 years' experience as a private investigator, and I am currently employed as a Federal EEO Investigator. Never before have I had the pleasure of an attorney putting forth the effort that you have displayed in returning my phone call, and establishing a relationship that causes me to look forward to our continued professional communications. Your extensive 38 years' experience and accomplishments certainly have not dimmed your enthusiasm, and I appreciate it.

- Sincerely,
Robert A. Bolton, EEO Investigator, Office of Resolution Management, La Plata, MD 20646

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