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California Privacy: What you need to know

California's state constitution guarantees the right of privacy to every state citizen (Cal Const, Art. I Sec. 1). This provision applies to both public (i.e., governmental) entities and private companies and individuals. Individuals have a right to sue private parties, including an employer, for any violation of the state's privacy guarantees. The provision has been used successfully in court on several privacy-related grounds, including drug testing. In considering whether an individual's right to privacy has been violated, California courts use a test that balances the privacy rights of the individual against the rights of another to invade that privacy.
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California recognizes all four common law invasion of privacy claims: intrusion upon solitude or seclusion, public disclosure of private facts (e.g., unreasonable publicity given to one's private life), false light privacy (e.g., publicity that normally places the other in a false light before the public), and appropriation of one's name or likeness.
The California Supreme Court has recognized that employees have an expectation of privacy in the workplace, although that expectation is not without limits (Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc., 211 P.3d 1063 (CA 2009)). In this case, the employer, a residential facility for neglected and abused children, became aware that someone had repeatedly accessed pornographic websites from one of its computers after work hours. In an attempt to discover who was misusing the computers, the employer installed a video camera in the office where the computer was located. The two employees who shared the office were not told about the camera, even though they were not suspected of ...

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California Privacy Resources

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