Category Archives: Privacy Rights

Quirky Question #286: Best Practices on Restroom Access and Terminology for Transgender Employees

Question: There has been a lot of news coverage lately on restroom policies related to transgender employees.  Can you provide some guidance on how to structure our restroom-use policies to be both lawful and respectful of all employees?  More generally, can you help me understand the appropriate, respectful terminology in this area?  I certainly don’t want to offend anyone on purpose, and I also don’t want to do so by mistake. Answer→

Quirky Question #216, Use of a Photograph of a Former Employee


A junior member of our marketing department left to join a competitor.  While she was with us, she created numerous marketing brochures with photographs of her demonstrating our product.  We received a letter from the competitor demanding that we remove her picture from our brochures and website and delete her name on any company materials.  It would be very expensive to redo all of our marketing materials, can we ignore her request? Answer→

Employees’ Informational Privacy Rights — Supreme Court Decides NASA v. Nelson

Employees’ Informational Privacy Rights — Supreme Court Decides NASA v. Nelson

On January 19, 2011, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of NASA v. Nelson, No. 09-530. The Court unanimously (a six justice majority, two concurring opinions, and Justice Kagan recusing herself), held that it did not violate the Constitution for employees of a government contractor to be required to submit to background checks in order to retain their jobs. The Court stated that the reasonableness of the government’s inquiries and the privacy protections in place meant that the background checks did not violate a “constitutional right to informational privacy.” The practical implications of this decision are discussed in the last section of this article. Answer→

Quirky Question # 165, Employment Cases Before the U.S. Supreme Court


This question is not especially “quirky.” I know that last year, you described the important employment cases that the U.S. Supreme Court was going to consider in the following year. I’ve seen a lot of press recently about the Walmart-Dukes case. What other employment cases will the Supreme Court be considering next term? Answer→

City of Ontario v. Quon, The Supreme Court Weighs In on Employee Privacy Expectations

City of Ontario vs. Quon, 560 U.S. ___ (2010)

On June 17, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of City of Ontario v. Quon, No. 08-1332, 560 U.S. ___ (2010).  The decision was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Justice Kennedy.  Justices Stevens and Scalia filed separate concurring opinions.  The Court held that the City of Ontario’s review of Jeff Quon’s, and others’, text messages sent on City-issued pagers did not constitute an unreasonable search and did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.


Consumer Privacy Issues

The Federal Trade Commission’s Sears Holdings Enforcement Action – Developments in Online Behavioral Advertising, Privacy and Social Media

Companies engaged in online behavioral advertising – the practice of tracking an individual’s online activities to deliver advertising tailored to the individual’s interests – should review their privacy policies, terms of use and agreements and similar documents against their actual and contemplated online behavioral advertising practices in light of the Federal Trade Commission focus on this area. Answer→