Employee Privacy During Off-Work Hours

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Can My Employer Monitor and Discipline Me for My Conduct Outside of Work?

Generally, the answer to this is no.  Outside the workplace right to privacy laws tend to be very solid and an employer generally has to have a very good reason for even asking about any information about your personal life, much less disciplining you for it. All states have laws that protect the privacy of individuals, and some states have laws that specifically say that an employer cannot look into the lawful private conduct of employees during off-work hours.  This means that not only does state laws forbid an employer from entering an employee's house without the employee's permission, but that an employer cannot even ask an employee about his personal life unless the employee brought it up first. 

Are There Certain Aspects of My Privacy That Are Specifically Protected Against Action By My Employer?

There are state and federal laws that protect certain non-work related activities, as well as certain beliefs and other aspects of your personal life:

I Feel that My Employer Has Violated My Privacy, What Can I Do?

First, you will probably want to try to resolve the conflict within the workplace by means of whatever procedure is set out in your employee handbook for filing a complaint.  If that does not work, you may want to consult an attorney who specializes in employment law.  Your attorney can advise you of your rights and let you know if you would be entitled to any damages in a lawsuit against your employer.

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Last Modified: 03-22-2011 02:21 PM PDT

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