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OMG: What is an Employer to Do? Companies Still Well-Advised to Restrict Expectations of Privacy in the Workplace after the Supreme Court's Limited Decision in Text Messaging Case, <em>City of Ontario v. Quon</em>

22 June 2010

Litigation Alert

This Litigation Alert discusses the first case to come before the Supreme Court involving text messaging and the Fourth Amendment. The Court unanimously decided in City of Ontario v. Quon that a public employer could review an employee's text messages on a city-issued pager because the review was for a legitimate work-related purpose. Quon had the potential to be a significant ruling that could have altered employers' efforts to enforce written policies restricting personal use of employer-issued communications equipment. However, the Court expressly avoided a decision on what expectation of privacy might be reasonable for communication devices. This Litigation Alert provides (1) factual and procedural background on the Quon case; (2) a brief summary of the Court's decision and concurring opinions; and (3) practical guidance on what employers can do to clarify how employees should use communication technologies at work.



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