This morning on "AirTalk," I asked what listeners thought about whether personal text messages sent over an employer’s wireless service were private communications, or subject to the review of the employer. This issue is embodied in a legal dispute between the Ontario Police Department and three of its officers. The officers sent hundreds of personal texts a month -- many of them sexually explicit.
The officers claimed that they were informed by a supervisor that personal texts were fine, as long as the officers paid any overages on data usage from their department-issued cell phones. However, the City of Ontario’s position is that its written policy makes clear that such communications aren’t private and that personal use of department communications devices isn’t allowed.
The Ninth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the officers, and the U. S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear the case.
What do you think? Do you assume that any personal messages you send on an employer-issued wireless device are private? Does your employer have a policy about whether personal usage is allowed? If you’re an employer, what’s your policy?
Tomorrow on "AirTalk," we’ll talk with a self-proclaimed modern day Scrooge, economist Joel Waldfogel. He’s author of "Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays." It’s just what every retailer, or retail employee, wants to hear.