What is the expectation of privacy with Facebook in the workplace? A case in New Jersey where an employee got fired over something a co-worker found on Facebook raises the question of civil liability when it comes to social media.
Recent California legislation says that, by statute, an employer may not require a username or password of an employee. That would suggest they shouldn't be accessing accounts through a third party, such as Lexus Nexus or even a co-worker, says Eugene Hyman, retired Superior Court Judge of Santa Clara, California. The question is, he says, is what would the case be worth if the employer saw things and didn't take action or if the employer saw things and did take action.
In the case in New Jersey, where a co-worker had privileges in accessing the plaintiff's Facebook information, and in doing so, found something on there that was taken to the regulatory agency, there can be "huge consequences," says Hyman.. The agency revoked the plaintiff's license and thus, her right to earn a living.
Judge Hyman believes a foreseeability test is a reasonable one when it comes to legal consequences. "How foreseeable is it that this "private" information is going to be dispersed out there and with more Facebook friends or followers, there is more likelihood it will be shared," says Hyman, and with that, there might be "potential consequences in terms of privacy."
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.