California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Privacy

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Airline May Have Unlawfully Rescinded Job Offers To HIV-Positive Applicants

Leonel v. American Airlines, Inc., 400 F.3d 702 (9th Cir. 2005) Walber Leonel and two other individuals applied for flight attendant positions with American Airlines. Plaintiffs were interviewed in Dallas and received conditional offers of employment, contingent upon their passing background checks and medical examinations. Although none of the applicants disclosed his HIV-positive status or … Continue Reading

Audio Recording Of Plan To Steal Competitor’s Employees And Trade Secrets Was Admissible

Jasmine Networks, Inc. v. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc., 117 Cal. App. 4th 794 (2004) Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. and Jasmine Networks, Inc. are competitors in the business of designing and manufacturing telecommunications chips. Marvell offered to buy some of Jasmine’s technology, along with some of its engineers, and Jasmine accepted after negotiating a nondisclosure agreement preventing Marvell … Continue Reading

Stripper Cop’s Termination May Have Violated His Right To Free Speech

Roe v. City of San Diego, 356 F.3d 1108 (9th Cir. 2004) While working as a San Diego police officer, John Roe videotaped himself stripping off a generic police officer’s uniform and engaging in acts of masturbation. Roe sold the videos on the adults-only section of eBay – under the username “Code3stud@aol.com.” After one of … Continue Reading

Court Upholds $775,000 Jury Award Against Employees Who Libeled Former Employer And Company Executives

Varian Med. Sys., Inc. v. Delfino, 113 Cal. App. 4th 273, 6 Cal.Rptr.3d 325 (2003) Varian and two of its executives, George Zdasiuk and Susan B. Felch, sued two former employees, Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day, after Delfino and Day used Internet bulletin boards to post more than 13,000 derogatory messages about Varian and the two executives. … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate Public Policy Or Privacy Right By Terminating Manager For Dating His Subordinate

Barbee v. Household Auto. Fin. Corp., 113 Cal. App. 4th 525 (2003) Household Automotive Finance Corporation (HAFC) terminated the employment of its national sales manager, Robert Barbee, after learning that Barbee had a “special relationship” with one of his subordinate employees and after giving Barbee the choice of either ending the relationship or effecting his … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Affirmed In Favor Of Employer That Made Erroneous Statements About Former Employee

Noel v. River Hills Wilsons, Inc., 113 Cal. App. 4th 1363 (2003) Brandon J. Noel sued his former employer, River Hills Wilsons, Inc. (Wilsons), and a Wilsons manager, Shelly Santillan, for defamation arising from Santillan’s erroneous statements to a background investigator (Choice- Point) retained by Noel’s new employer (GTE) that Noel left Wilsons because of … Continue Reading

Litigant And His Lawyer May Have Violated Computer Fraud Statutes By Subpoenaing E-Mail

Theofel v. Farey-Jones, 341 F.3d 978 (9th Cir. 2003) Douglas Wolf and Richard Buckingham, officers of Integrated Capital Associates, Inc. (ICA), were embroiled in commercial litigation against Alwyn Farey-Jones when Farey-Jones’s lawyer, Iryna Kwasny, subpoenaed ICA’s Internet Service Provider, NetGate, broadly seeking “all copies of emails sent or received by anyone.” NetGate, which was not … Continue Reading

Employee’s Invasion Of Privacy Claim Was Not Barred By Workers’ Compensation Act

Operating Engineers Local 3 v. Johnson, 110 Cal. App. 4th 180 (2003) Bonita Vinson and her union, Operating Engineers Local 3, filed this lawsuit against Sylvia Johnson, the Chief Probation Officer of the County of Alameda and the county, alleging violation of Vinson’s right to privacy. Vinson alleged that Johnson had made an announcement at … Continue Reading

Employer May Have Violated Federal Law By Accessing Employee’s Secure Website

Konop v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., 302 F.3d 868 (9th Cir. 2002) Robert Konop, a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, created and maintained a website on which he posted bulletins critical of the airline and the incumbent union, the Air Line Pilots Association. Konop controlled access to his website by requiring visitors to log in with a … Continue Reading

No Invasion Of Privacy Of Employee Who Was Terminated For Romantic Relationship

Ortiz v. Los Angeles Police Relief Ass’n, 98 Cal. App. 4th 1288 (2002) Cipriana Ortiz was employed as an administrator for LAPRA (a private, nonprofit association that processes employee benefits claims of current and former LAPD officers). Ortiz had access to officers’ names, residential addresses, telephone numbers, medical histories, family information, etc. During the course … Continue Reading

Employee Had No Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy In Home Computer Provided By Employer

TBG Ins. Serv. Corp. v. Superior Court, 96 Cal. App. 4th 443 (2002) The employer in this case had provided its employee, Robert Zieminski, with two computers – one for the office and the other to permit Zieminski to work at home. The employee had signed the company’s “electronic and telephone equipment policy,” which, among … Continue Reading
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