Employee Privacy Laws in New Jersey

employee privacy

You have a right to privacy—in both your personal and professional lives. Although you must give up a certain degree of your privacy while at work, there are limits to the private information an employer can ask you to turn over or use against you. 

Privacy is one of the fastest-growing areas in employment law. If you believe that yours has been violated by an employer, then you should seek the advice and counsel of an employment lawyer New Jersey. Employment lawyers New Jersey know the law and can use it to preserve your rights and defend your interests if you are being pressured to turn over personal information, have had such information poached without your consent, or have been fired for standing up for your right to privacy. 

Your Privacy Rights in the Workplace 

Nearly everyone must use laptops, cell phones, and tablet devices in the workplace. If you work in a professional firm, such electronic devices may be owned by the company. When using company-owned devices, the company has a right to monitor the websites you visit, the emails you send and receive, and the telephone numbers you dial. The company can even record you as you work. 

However, there are limits to this kind of activity. An employer must inform you about the ways in which they are monitoring you. These operations should be described in the employee handbook. Your employer must also inform you if they are listening in on your calls. It is legitimate to do this for training purposes, but it is never okay to do it in secret. 

Testing for Drugs and Alcohol 

In general, employers can require drug testing as a condition of employment. They can also maintain a random drug testing program to monitor all their employees. If you are in a job that involves the use of heavy machinery or dangerous substances, then your employer will probably have a zero-tolerance policy and will regularly test the workforce. 

Again, however, there are limits. Your employer should take steps to avoid false-positive results. You cannot be tested for any prescription medication that you may be taking, and your privacy should be protected if your medical condition is revealed during a drug test. If you are taking medical marijuana, you are protected by law and cannot be fired. 

Even if you do pop positive for drugs or it is discovered that you have an alcohol dependency problem, the law may require your employer to offer drug rehab at their expense. 

Social Media 

There is a great and growing debate on whether an employer can fire an employee for something they posted on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Some courts have given employers leeway in this matter, as employing someone who has posted highly offensive comments or images can damage the name and reputation of the company. 

In most instances, the legal dispute turns on the specific facts of the case. If you posted something that can be seen by everyone, then the company may be within its rights to fire you. If you posted something that could only be seen by friends, then the company may be on shakier ground. 

Defending a Fundamental Right 

Employment attorneys in NJ help people like you protect their rights to privacy in the workplace. You should never be threatened with retaliation or termination for standing up for your rights. If your employer has put undue pressure on you to reveal something about yourself or to otherwise conform to an illegal company policy, it may constitute a hostile work environment NJ. Elizabeth NJ attorneys know how to handle such cases. 

If your privacy rights have been violated at work, then you should speak to Elizabeth NJ lawyers at the Ashton E. Thomas law firm.