Can my employer subpoena my cell phone record?

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Can my employer subpoena my cell phone record?

My spouse has sent a complaint to my job’s HR department stating that a male co-worker is sending me inappropriate text messages. I do have friendships with many of my co-workers but nothing that crosses the line. There is absolutely no harassment of any kind. My job has told me that they can subpoena my cell phone records and get access to my text messages to make sure that nothing inappropriate happened. I feel that anything that is done on my personal line should not be put under a microscope. Can my job really do this? What kind of info would they have access to?

Asked on December 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If a legal matter (lawsuit) ensues, then they may be able to do this--if the evidence from your phone record may be germane, or relevant, to a lawsuit, a subpoena could potentially be issued. (You would have a chance to oppose it; an attorney could help you do that.) However, in the absence of a lawsuit, they have no right to see your records--or at least, no right to see records of your personal telephone. The company has a right to see any records of any phones they pay for or provide, however; those are their phones.


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