What constitutes a claim for a hostile work environment?

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What constitutes a claim for a hostile work environment?

Currently testifying against my immediate supervisor in a Class 2 Felony case. My supervisor knows of the testimony. While speaking with a detective, it became known that my supervisor accessed my work computer via my username and password, and went through my files. He discovered a file that was my written statement for the detective. Is this conduct acceptable by labor laws? I feel that it is a violation via unnecessary increased surveillance. No other employees files were searched. Given the nature of the situation, there is motive behind the actions.

Asked on August 31, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You say that the supervisor accessed your work computer via your user name and password. If that is the case, then it is likely that what the supervisor did was legal. Your work computer is the property of your employer, not you; an employer (or supervisors, as its representatives) has the right to access its own property. Anything stored on the employer's computer is something which they generally have the right to review. It doesn't matter if there was motive, if the employer, and therefore the supervisor, had the right to do this. They could not "hack" or otherwise access your personal computer at home, but worker's don't generally have privacy rights in their work computers. NEVER put anything you don't want your employer or any managers thereat to see on a work computer.


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