On January 22, 2015, the New Jersey Appellate Division reaffirmed an employer’s right to monitor an employee’s use of his or her workplace computer, including a review of the employee’s Internet browser history. In Liebeskind v Rutgers University, A-0544-12T1, the plaintiff filed a common law invasion of privacy claim against his former employer after his supervisors viewed his Internet browsing history to determine whether he spent excessive time on non-work tasks. Noting that the employer (1) had a legitimate interest in monitoring and regulating the plaintiff’s workplace computer, and (2) had a policy informing employees that it reserved the right to examine material stored or transmitted through its facilities to determine improper use, the Appellate Division rejected the plaintiff’s privacy-based claims. Contrasting the New Jersey Supreme Court’s employee-friendly Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc. decision (see the April 2010 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority)—which ruled that the attorney-client privilege protected emails sent from a company computer through an employee’s password-protected personal email account—the court here found that the plaintiff’s Internet browsing history on his workplace computer enjoyed no similar expectation of privacy.
Attorney-Client Privilege Does Not Attach to Employee’s Emails Sent Through Company Email System on Work Computer
The Appellate Division has swung the pendulum back towards employers in Fazio v. Temporary Excellence, Inc., No. A-5441-08T3 (N.J. App Div., Feb. 2, 2012), on the topic of whether emails sent by an employee to his attorney, while using a company computer and network, are protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Whether graduate student assistants at private universities are “employees” covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) might soon be taken up (again) by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On February 2, 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL) published final rules regarding service provider fee disclosures (Final Rules). The Final Rules set forth specific fee disclosure obligations for plan service providers, designed to ensure that plan fiduciaries can accurately analyze the fees charged when selecting and monitoring service providers for their qualified retirement plans.