What is an Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace? | Civil Rights Firm



What is Considered an Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace?

Privacy is precious. No one in their right mind would ever want to give up or compromise this crucial freedom. This means that employers must refrain from unreasonable surveillance methods that aim to infringe on their employees’ rights. But in some cases, they might over-surveil you to the point of discomfort. If you think you were subjected to an irrational or unexplained invasion of privacy at your workplace, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against your employer. An employee rights lawyer can be your greatest ally here.

In this post, we’ll shed light on what is considered an invasion of privacy in the workplace.

A Quick Guide to Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace

Remember, the law can be complex for the uninitiated, so it’s best to work with a skilled attorney who understands the legal framework. But to summarize, let’s walk you through the basics of an invasion of privacy in the workplace.

What is Considered an Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace?

An invasion of privacy takes place when your reasonable expectation of privacy is violated. Generally speaking, it constitutes the following distinct causes of action.

  • Appropriation of name or likeness
  • Public disclosure of private facts
  • False light
  • Intrusion upon seclusion

1. Appropriation of Name or Likeness

These laws protect your right to control the use of your identity for business/economic purposes. Should your employer use it for personal gain without your consent, it might count as an invasion of privacy in the workplace.

It’s appropriation when someone uses your name or identity without your permission, but the degrees of punishment and severity worsen depending on how they use it. For example, the punishments get worse if:

  • They used it for their benefit, financial or otherwise
  • You were injured in the process

However, be sure to check any paperwork you signed during your employment. Did it include a waiver seeking permission to use your name/likeness? If so, you may not have a strong case against your employer. Your employee rights attorney will be able to guide you in this regard.

2. Public Disclosure of Private Facts

In case your employer publishes any of your information revealed in confidence, it is an invasion of privacy in the workplace. For example, it is likely an encroachment if somebody publicizes information about your health, sexual conduct, or financial situation.

3. False Light

This claim falls along the lines of defamation. You can sue your employer for publishing misleading, but not entirely false, information. The employer must make a publication about you in reckless disregard that placed you in a false, offensive, or embarrassing light.

4. Intrusion Upon Seclusion

You could hold your employer liable for an intrusion of solitude when they pry into your personal matters.

What Isn’t Considered an Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace?

By now, you’ve likely understood what is considered an invasion of privacy in the workplace. However, not all offensive actions are legally punishable. Any claim that does not fall into these four categories or does not violate your reasonable expectation of privacy will not hold up in court.

Here are a few examples.

  • Your employer reads a letter you left in your workplace’s lunchroom (a public space).
  • Your employer calls you outside of work but stops when you ask them to.
  • Your employer made you sign a waiver stating their intentions of reading your work emails.

It might be tough to distinguish an invasion of privacy in the workplace from typical nosy behavior. That’s why you should get in touch with an employee rights attorney as soon as possible. They’ll be able to analyze your situation and suggest the best course of action.

Common Examples of Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace

Need better clarity? Here are a few examples of invasion of privacy in the workplace.

  • Your employer asked you to submit to a routine medical examination but did not mention a drug test. However, once drugs were found in your system, you were fired.
  • Your employer installed hidden video cameras above the stalls in the employee restroom.
  • Your employer hired a private detective to monitor where you go after work.

Again, an invasion of privacy in the workplace is nasty business. You’ll want a skilled employee rights lawyer in your corner to reprimand your employer and seek rightful damages.

How to Sue for Invasion of Privacy in the Workplace

Usually, privacy invasion claims are covered by a state’s tort law, also known as the personal injury law. When you file a lawsuit against your employer, the court looks at factors like the type and impact of the intrusion.

You must suffer a highly offensive invasion of privacy with long-term distress and other consequences to substantiate your claim. For example, if the information revealed by your employer led to workplace harassment, termination, or discrimination, you have solid grounds for a case.

If your privacy was violated at work, your best bet is to hire an employee rights attorney to negotiate a settlement with your employer or file a lawsuit on your behalf.

How an Employee Rights Attorney Can Help You Fight Back

An invasion of privacy in the workplace can leave you feeling vulnerable and angry. Instead of fighting back on your own, consider working with an employee rights lawyer.

A skilled attorney can help you identify whether and how your privacy was infringed upon at work. We’ll also assess your case and protect your interests, no questions asked.

Don’t let your employer intimidate you into silence. Consult a seasoned employee rights attorney to bring the perpetrators to justice and secure your mental well-being.

Contact an Employee Rights Attorney Today

Filing a legal claim protects your rights. It can also compensate you for any emotional/mental distress or financial/reputation harm caused by the intrusion. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into the intricacies of the invasion of privacy in the workplace.

The employee rights attorneys at Bantle & Levy LLP can help safeguard you against all forms of exploitation in the workplace. Our reputable lawyers will work with you to ensure your safety and security. Contact us today.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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