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.
As the new year is upon us, we remind New Jersey employers with 10 or more employees of their obligation to annually distribute to their New Jersey employees, via written or electronic means, the required notice under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) in both English and Spanish. The notice must be completed with the appropriate contact information prior to distribution to employees and posting in the workplace.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Sharp v. CGG Land (U.S.) Inc., No. 14-cv-0614 (October 19, 2015), recently ruled in favor of an employer that had excluded per diem payments from a regular rate calculation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs filed suit alleging that per diem payments for meal expenses provided to the plaintiff class were not properly included in their regular rate of pay.
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, to tighten security measures and impose new restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP permits citizens of 38 designated countries, mostly in Europe, to travel to the United States for business or tourism for 90 days or less without a visa. The bill, which passed in the House by a vote of 407 to 19, would prohibit anyone who has traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan within the past five years from participating in the program; require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to terminate a country’s participation in the program if the country fails to share counterterrorism information; require all VWP countries to use electronic passports with chips that contain biometric information; and mandate that participating countries more thoroughly screen travelers against international counterterrorism databases.