Safe for Work? Analyzing the Supreme Court's Standard of Privacy for Government Employees in Light of City of Ontario V. Quon
Sheila Anne Bentzen
University of Iowa - College of Law
March 6, 2012
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 97, No. 4, 2012
This note analyzes the need for the Supreme Court to develop a firm constitutional standard for determining whether a government search of a public employee is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, the note stresses that the test needs to take into account emerging technology and its impact on public employees’ privacy rights. To properly ground these issues in current law, I explore them through the lens of the Supreme Court’s two major opinions related to government searches of its employees — O’Connor v. Ortega and City of Ontario v. Quon. I then demonstrate that the Supreme Court has yet to produce a standard that adequately protects the privacy interests of public employees. To fill this gap in the law, I propose a balancing test that weighs the interests of both the government employer and the government employee. The test does so by considering the extent to which an employee’s work-related activity carries over into the private sphere of the home.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Fourth Amendment, Right to Privacy, Government Employees, Constitutional Law
Date posted: March 6, 2012 ; Last revised: June 13, 2012
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