U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Employer’s Inspection Of Employee’s Text Messages—City Of Ontario V. Quon


On June 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the closely watched case City of Ontario v. Quon. Before the Court was the question of whether a public-sector employer violated an employee’s Fourth Amendment privacy rights when it reviewed personal text messages sent and received by the employee on a pager issued by the employer. As discussed below, the Court held that employer’s inspection of the text messages was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and did not violate the employee’s privacy rights. The case, though brought against a public-sector employer, provides important guidance for employers in both private and public sectors on the law governing the use of communications technology in the workplace.

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