What are the laws regarding privacy in the workplace?

UPDATED: Feb 25, 2011

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What are the laws regarding privacy in the workplace?

I was written up for not doing a specific task because my co-worker failed to do. We are both held responsible for all tasks and the employee handbook states that. We are given a nightly checklist and it is divided between the person at the desks and the person doing grounds checks. I am at the desk. We failed to do the correct amount of grounds checks within a hour and both were written up. Before I received the write-up, I was approached in the parking lot by my co-worker with a warning that we were receiving a write-up. He was told from another employee, who, is not in our chain of command. Is it legal for other employees to know of such disciplinary action?

Asked on February 25, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Employee workplace privacy rights are virtually non-existent in private-sector employment. The reality is that most states, including AK, don't have so-called employee workplace privacy rights laws. Additionally, a situation such as this would not be covered.  The reason is that most employment arrangements are "at will".  This means an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they deem fit.  In turn, anemployee can work for an employer or not, their choice.  Unless there was a stated company policy covering this situation, or there was a union/employment agreement to the contrary, or there was some type of discrimination involved, your employer's actions did not violate the law.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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