San Francisco Employee Privacy Rights Attorney

California Employee Privacy Rights

California employees have some of the strongest privacy protections in the United States. The right to privacy provided in the California Constitution protects both private sector and public sector employees.

Although employees are protected under law, privacy issues can surface in the workplace in a number of ways. Here are just a few:

Examples of Privacy Issues

Employer Drug Tests

Generally speaking, an employer may not subject an existing employee to drug or alcohol tests unless the employer has a reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work. Random testing is lawful only for employees who occupy safety-sensitive jobs. An employer may, however, test job applicants. California law permits a private employer to conduct reasonable drug and alcohol screening of job applicants.

Social Media

As of January 1, 2013, California prohibits both private and public employers from asking for an employee’s Facebook or other social media username or password. Five other states: Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey, have similar laws.

Dating Coworkers

Employers may not punish you for your lawful, off-duty conduct. This protection extends to off-the-job consensual relationships. California courts, however, have permitted employers to implement work rules that prohibit supervisors from dating their subordinates in order to protect against unlawful harassment.

Tape Recording

Neither employees nor employers may tape record a conversation without the consent of all parties. California Penal Code Section 632 prohibits the taping of telephone calls or in-person discussions if the parties intended the conversation to be private. Persons who violate Penal Code Section 632 may be subject to fines or imprisonment.

Your Email

Employees have a limited expectation of privacy in the emails they send from or through their work computers. Many companies have posted or distributed a notice to employees that their email may be monitored.

How Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP Can Help

The San Francisco employment lawyers at Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP are here to protect the privacy of employees in the workplace.