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Cell Phone Privacy Concerns for Employees

The Employment Law Daily (Wolters Kluwer) recently published the extensive comments of Matt Radler, an associate at Bernabei & Kabat.

Matt discussed the Supreme Court’s June 2014 decisions in Riley and Wurie, which held that the police usually need a warrant before conducting a search of an arrestee’s cell phone. Although this decision arose in the criminal context, Matt explained how the Supreme Court’s concerns about privacy interests in a cell phone – which has far more personal data than anything else that a person may carry with them – may also apply to discovery in employment disputes.

For example, the employer may want to search a former employee’s cell phone, or request that the court require a former employee to provide the employer with a copy of the entire contents of her cell phone. This Supreme Court decision may be helpful in preventing overly broad searches of electronic devices, and limiting discovery to documents and other electronic data that are specifically relevant to the claims in the case.