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Issues that affect ministers and churches
Privacy on Church Devices
California
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Key point 4-04. Many states recognize "invasion of privacy" as a basis for liability. Invasion of privacy may consist of any one or more of the following: (1) public disclosure of private facts; (2) use of another person's name or likeness; (3) placing someone in a "false light" in the public eye; or (4) intruding upon another's seclusion.
Key point 8-29. Employees may have a limited right of privacy in their workspace that may extend to the contents of their desk and cabinet drawers, and employer-provided computers. This right of privacy can be superseded by a policy that clearly authorizes the employer to inspect these items.

A federal district court in California ruled that an employer did not commit an invasion of privacy by reading text messages and email that were accessible on a former employee's employer-provided cell phone following his dismissal. An employee ("Gary") of a for-profit business (the "defendant") informed his employer that he had taken a job with one of its competitors. Upon learning of Gary's intent to pursue other employment, the defendant immediately dismissed him.

While employed with the defendant, Gary was assigned a company-owned iPhone and iPad for both work and personal purposes. Thereafter, Gary created and paid for a personal Apple account that was linked to both devices. He returned both devices to the defendant after his termination.

Gary's new employer provided him a new iPhone. At some point thereafter, Gary registered or linked his new iPhone to the same personal Apple account he had previously used while working for the defendant. This process "synced" the new iPhone with Gary's personal Apple account.

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