Jones v. Riot Hospitality Group LLC, 2024 WL 927669 (9th Cir. 2024)

Alyssa Jones, a former waitress at a Scottsdale, Arizona bar, sued the owner of the bar and his company (Riot) for violations of Title VII and common law tort claims. After two of Jones’ coworkers testified in their depositions that they had exchanged text messages with Jones about the case, the district court

City of Ontario v. Quon, 130 S. Ct. 2619 (2010)

The City of Ontario’s Computer Usage, Internet and E-mail Policy provides that use of the city’s computers and other electronic equipment, networks, etc., is limited to city-related business, that access is not confidential and “users should have no expectation of privacy or confidentiality when using these resources.” Sergeant Jeff Quon, a member of the city’s SWAT team, signed an employee acknowledgement of the Policy and attended a meeting in which he and others were informed that text messages were considered to be the same as e-mail and could be audited by the department. However, Quon was later told that the content of his text messages would not be audited so long as he paid the department for any charges associated with texting more than 25,000 characters in a billing cycle. When a lieutenant in the department “grew weary” of being a bill collector for officers who exceeded the 25,000 character limit, the department contacted Arch Wireless and requested transcripts of the text messages. After the department received the transcripts from Arch, internal affairs conducted an investigation to determine “if someone was wasting city time not doing work when they should be.” The investigation revealed that many of Quon’s messages were personal in nature and sexually explicit.

Today, in a decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case involving an employee’s assertion that a government employer had violated the Fourth Amendment by unreasonably obtaining and reviewing personal text messages sent and received on employer-issued pagers.  Justices Stevens and Scalia issued concurring opinions.

City of Ontario v. Quon (08-1332)

Quon v. Arch Wireless Operating Co., 529 F.3d 892 (9th Cir. 2008)

Arch Wireless contracted to provide wireless text-messaging services for the City of Ontario, including its police department. Pursuant to the city’s general Computer Usage, Internet and E-mail Policy, the use of the city’s computers and other electronic equipment, networks, etc., was limited to city-related business, access was not confidential and “users should