A Hopeful Outlook on Privacy Rights for Public Sector Employees

Source: Alan M. Klinger, Stroock Reports – Public Employee Law, Summer 2012
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The mantra is often repeated that public employees have a greatly diminished privacy interest while on the job. Recent events brought renewed focus on the scope of such rights, possibly evidencing (even in the face of an adverse decision) a shift in how these rights will be viewed going forward. First, this article discusses the controversy sparked by the publication of Teacher Data Reports (“TDRs”) by the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York (“BOE”), and the recent willingness of state representatives and courts to consider the privacy interest of public employees in policy decisions. It will also address American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (” AFSCME”) Council 79 v. Scott, a recent Florida case where a federal judge struck down – as a Fourth Amendment violation – a program that would have required many state employees to undergo random drug testing.

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