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Employment Law

Privacy And Reputation

When an individual seeks employment, he or she surrenders some privacy rights. To become employed, the individual will be asked to disclose personal information and may be required to submit to continuing evaluation. Current or prospective employees may be asked to submit to a physical examination, a POLYGRAPH examination, a psychological evaluation, a test for use of illegal drugs, or a test for HIV. Employers have the right to search lockers or to frisk employees even if no reasonable suspicion of theft exists. The modern workplace can be checked by an employer through the monitoring of phone lines and personal computers.

Courts and legislatures have expressed increasing concern about the improper use of information that employers collect on employees. Employers who distribute information more widely than necessary, reveal confidential medical or personal information about an employee, or intrude on an employee's personal, off-work behavior risk lawsuits for invasion of privacy.

The issue of DEFAMATION also affects employment law. Defamation is subdivided into the torts of LIBEL, which involves a writing, and slander, which involves speech. Liability for defamation may be imposed if an employer makes a statement about an employee that is false and hurts the reputation of the employee. Employers have been successfully sued for defamation for communicating unfavorable job recommendations about a former employee. As a result, employers are reluctant to give more than basic employment history when asked for a job reference. Twenty-five states have enacted "good faith" job-reference laws, which protect employers who divulge employee job-performance information to a prospective employer.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Embargo to Estate pur (or per) autre vieEmployment Law - History, Company Obligations To Work-at-home Employees, Physical Safety, Discrimination, Termination Of Employment