What are an employee’s right to privacy in the workplace?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are an employee’s right to privacy in the workplace?

My daughter worked for a national fast food chain but had to quit her job due to a medical family emergency. one of her supervisors was upset she didn’t put in her two weeks notice and told another employee her business, yelling it from the office to where all the other employees on the floor could hear it. Isn’t there some sort of privacy policy that he should not have been able to do that? Were my daughter’s privacy rights violated? When we spoke to this supervisors superior he claims that this manager said he did nothing of the sort. However, 2 of the employees working that shift heard what he said an are willing to admit to what they heard. Does she have any grounds for a case?

Asked on September 15, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

What you describe is unprofessional and unethical, but is not illegal unless there is a specific confidentiality agreement in place, anything told to one person--even something personal, such as about a family medical emergency--can be told by that person to any other person, even in the workplace and even by a supervisor.

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