Yesterday the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of Ontario, CA, et al. v. Quon, Jeff, et al.. (No, not that Ontario; no, not that CA.) Quon is a police officer who sent hundreds of personal text messages to his girlfriend and others on a device provided by Quon’s employer, which had an informal policy that it wouldn’t inquire into an employee’s use of the device if he or she paid for the cost of extra usage. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [PDF] ruled that the town’s review of Quon’s messages was an unreasonable search in the circumstances.
A brief review of the matter is provided by the Wall Street Journal.
It seems to me that in our occasional discussions here of employee privacy, we’ve assumed that the employer has the unalloyed right to review emails or other documents created during work hours on devices provided by the employer for the purposes of the job. Is that, essentially, the Canadian position on texting or emailing at work?