Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

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Latest post 12-18-2008 1:02 PM by Daxavier. 8 replies.
  • 12-17-2008 7:38 PM

    Question [=?] Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    I have a question regarding Confidentiality laws.


    Part 1:

    If co-worker in your office has possibly looked into your e-mail account(MS outlook)and you had actual proof of it. What are my rights for filing a suit against that employee?


    Or,


    Part 2:

    What if a manager has leaked private and confidential information to the very employee that was the main corse of concern. What rights do I have to file suit against the manager or company?


    This is asked because one of the two may have possibly happened. If in fact it was part 1, then video footage may be proof for this.

    If it is not part 1, then part 2 could have been into play and the manager has leaked important information that could have endangered the employee filing the complaint.

    The only people who were aware of the complaint were the employee filing and the manager who had the discussion via e-mail.

    What can the person do to protect themselves?

    Thank you.

  • 12-17-2008 8:09 PM In reply to

    re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    What confidentiality laws?

    1. If someone looked at your e-mail at work it would be up to the employer to decide if there was anaction to take, not you.

    2. What makes you think the information was legally required to be kept confidential? Very little is.


  • 12-17-2008 10:17 PM In reply to

    re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    The computers belong to your employer.

    NOTHING that you or any other employee does is private or protected when it comes to supervisors, management, or any other authorizied personnel.

    And if there are any rules prohibiting one employee from reading the email of another employee, it's up to management to discipline the employee doing the reading.

    You have nothing to do with it other than reporting it to management.

    Any information of yours that you want kept secret, keep it off the company computers. Period.

    You have no cause of action here for anything.

    "that could have endangered the employee filing the complaint."

    Haven't a clue as to what that even means.


    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 12-18-2008 12:42 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    To answer your question, the e-mail was a complaint that I had with one of my co-workers. I e-mailed my managers to warned them of a possible retaliation that could have occured (in which it did). One of our office policies (based on our employee guide) is that all complaints or concerns that an employee may have is considered confidential and private. Therefore, no information should be leaked to anyone other then the employee who made the complaint or any manager. Further more, all information is considered confidential until a full investigation is made.

    I am not sure if you are all from Philadelphia, but there was a recent scandal involving former anchorman Larry Mendte who recently pled guilty to the federal charge of illegally accessing his co-anchor's e-mail account in August 2008. Reports also say that Mendte was not only let go from his job but also received a sentence of 3 years probation, 6 months home confinement, 250 hours of community service, computer monitoring, a psychiatric evaluation, and a $5000 fine.


    Now I ask, how does that contrast from my situation?

    Am I not at a high enough stratification to have my case treated in the same fashion?

    Please let me know what you think.
  • 12-18-2008 6:49 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    To answer your question, the e-mail was a complaint that I had with one of my co-workers. I e-mailed my managers to warned them of a possible retaliation that could have occured (in which it did). One of our office policies (based on our employee guide) is that all complaints or concerns that an employee may have is considered confidential and private. Therefore, no information should be leaked to anyone other then the employee who made the complaint or any manager. Further more, all information is considered confidential until a full investigation is made.

    I am not sure if you are all from Philadelphia, but there was a recent scandal involving former anchorman Larry Mendte who recently pled guilty to the federal charge of illegally accessing his co-anchor's e-mail account in August 2008. Reports also say that Mendte was not only let go from his job but also received a sentence of 3 years probation, 6 months home confinement, 250 hours of community service, computer monitoring, a psychiatric evaluation, and a $5000 fine.


    Now I ask, how does that contrast from my situation?

    Am I not at a high enough stratification to have my case treated in the same fashion?

    Please let me know what you think.
  • 12-18-2008 9:34 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    1. The only information in the workplace that your employer is required to keep confidential is medical information they may have on their employees that was obtained through their group health plan. That's it. Anything else is completely a matter of company policy. A violation of company policy does not give rise to a legal claim. It can result in discipline or termination which is up to the employer.

    2. I don't know anything about the situation in Philadelphia you describe; perhaps that involved the one guy "hacking into" the other's personal email account. That's a different matter than your situation. Your work email belongs to your employer; if a co-worker looked at your email and shouldn't have, then you inform your employer and let them handle it as they see fit. Again, this is entirely a matter of company policy.

    You're free to consult with an attorney of course but I don't see anything in your post that suggests you have the basis of a lawsuit (not even close.)
  • 12-18-2008 12:16 PM In reply to

    re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    Office policy is not law.

    The anchor hacked into someone's e-mails and, as I recall, then stalked her. That's a criminal offense.
  • 12-18-2008 1:02 PM In reply to

    Ok [+0+] re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    No maam,

    I didn't see any reason to unless I was told that would be a considerable idea.

    You gave me the information that I am looking for.

    Just an FYI, things are being looked into and a decision will be made upon the investigation. I just wanted to make sure if there was more that I needed to do for my protection.

    The altercation was foolish to begin with. It should not have gotten that far.

    Thanks for all of your help.

    Happy Holidays to you.
  • 12-19-2008 2:02 PM In reply to

    re: Confidentiality breach in the workplace.

    "Now I ask, how does that contrast from my situation?"

    Hmmm. Depends on how your email was actually accessed.

    "Am I not at a high enough stratification to have my case treated in the same fashion?"

    Seriously. Your situation is probably chump change compared to what Mendte did.

    But have you called the US Attorney to inquire about criminal charges?

    Have you consulted an attorney about filing a civil lawsuit (assuming you are actually suffering monetary damages from it)?

    If the answer is no to both questions, then you are pretty much stuck with what your employer decides to do.

    Meantime, here's a quote from an article about the Mendte thing.


    "This past summer, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Mendte had been charged with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization. Between January 1, 2008 and May 28, 2008 Mendte allegedly accessed Lane's private e-mail accounts 537 times, but prosecutors say the tampering began as early as March 2006.

    Prosecutors say Mendte accessed Lane's email more than 3,000 times, describing it as "… a two-year long, underhanded assault on the privacy of a co-worker to satisfy the defendant's own morbid curiosity, and to destroy her reputation and her career."

    During an August 2008 court appearance, Mendte admitted in August 2006 he purchased a keystroke logger -- hardware that can be used to obtain a password to another person's computer accounts.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office says Mendte had logged on from his Chestnut Hill home, his vacation home, KYW and another location and then leaked information, including attorney-client privileged information relating to both criminal litigation in which Lane was involved in New York and civil litigation Lane brought against KYW, to a reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News."
    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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