CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bentzen on Searching Government Employees in Light of City of Ontario v. Quon

Sheila Anne Bentzen (University of Iowa - College of Law) has posted Safe for Work? Analyzing the Supreme Court's Standard of Privacy for Government Employees in Light of City of Ontario V. Quon (Iowa Law Review, Vol. 97, No. 4, 2012) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This note analyzes the need for the Supreme Court to develop a constitutional standard for determining whether a government search of a public employee is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, this 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, this note explores 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. The note demonstrates 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, this note proposes 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.

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