458Smyth - embodied in Pennsylvania common law.” He...

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Smyth v. Pillsbury Co. I. The Facts: The plaintiff is at at-will employee who claims he was wrongfully discharged from his job. The defendant repeatedly assured its employees that all email communications would remain confidential and privileged and that they would not be intercepted and used by defendant against its employees as grounds for termination or reprimand. In October 1994, the plaintiff received email communications from his boss over the defendant’s email system on his computer at home. On January 17, the plaintiff was notified by the defendant that his employment was being terminated for transmitting what it deemed to be inappropriate and unprofessional comments over defendant’s email system. The court ruled in favor of the defendant saying they did not invade the plaintiff’s right to privacy and, therefore, his termination was not a violation. II. The Issue: Plaintiff claims his termination was in violation of “public policy which precludes an employer from terminating an employee in violation of the employee’s right to privacy as
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Unformatted text preview: embodied in Pennsylvania common law.” He referred to a tort that stated the following: One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. III. The Holding: The court did not find a reasonable expectation of privacy in email communications voluntarily made by an employee to his supervisor over the company email system. Because the plaintiff was using the platform of electronic communication of his employer, they did not violate his privacy by reviewing his emails. IV. The Rationale: The plaintiff used the email system utilized by the entire company so any reasonable expectation of privacy was lost. He voluntarily communicated the alleged unprofessional comments over the company email system. The court found no privacy interests in such communications....
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2011 for the course COMM 458 taught by Professor Sparr during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.

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