Invasion of privacy
Four Considerations that determine the legality of the invasion of privacy in a workplace investigation are as follows:
– Consideration of the person’s clothing, immediate possessions, such as briefcases, purses, backpacks, vehicles. The medium zone is the person’s immediate work area, such as the desk, the cubicle the office. The lowest zone is the larger work area, including the floor, the building, and the parking lot.
– Consideration of the risks. The higher the zone of privacy, the higher the risk is of illegal invasion of privacy. The highest zones imply the highest expectations of privacy.
– Consideration of the reasons for invading privacy. The more compelling the evidence is, the more reasons the investigator has to invade even the highest zone of privacy.
– Consideration of the need for surveillance. If the employer’s need to observe the suspected employee’s behavior outweighs the reasonable expectation of privacy, invasion of privacy is legally justified.
The following are four theories related to the invasion of privacy:
– Public Disclosure of a Person’s Private Life – this theory is based on the Fourth Amendment. In case the investigator releases information offensive to the public or not of the public’s concern, he/she ma be accused of violating the privacy right.
– Placing in False Light – this theory is based on the premise that any information published must be true. If the investigator releases information that presents the subject in a false light, positive or negative, he/she may be held liable.
– Intrusion into a Person’s Seclusion – this theory is based on the premise that every person has a right to a reasonable physical and psychological space. If investigator violates this space, he/she may be held liable.
– Intentional Infliction of Emotional Stress – the Investigator is prohibited from abusing the subject physically or verbally in order not to cause emotional distress. The investigator must not accuse the subject of dishonesty or crime.