If an employer accesses an employee’s social networking site without permission, or worse, accesses the site under threat of termination, then the employer may be liable for a claim of invasion of privacy and violation of the federal Stored Communication Act. Such was the result in a federal lawsuit in New Jersey. Delaware Employment Blog explains that the employer noticed a private website on Myspace. The Myspace page was put up by an employee and was used by many employees to discuss work. The manager saw negative comments about the restaurant where they all worked. Management then coerced a co-worker into providing the log in and password. They later fired two employees for poor attitude based on their comments on the private Myspace page. Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, Inc. A jury trial found in favor of the two fired employees and against the restaurant.
Delaware Blog suggests that it was the act of forcing the employee to give up her login info for a private closed membership site that made this case actionable.