Do I have a case if I was fired from my job when my boss went into my facebook account and read my private messages?

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I have a case if I was fired from my job when my boss went into my facebook account and read my private messages?

The account doesn’t automatically log you off.

Asked on March 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You may have a cause of action, but it is not certain. This is an evolving area of law (the law is essentially being made right now) and there are competing rights and interests: on the one hand, it is illegal to access another's social media or emails in most situations without authorization, but on the other hand, employers have broad rights to monitor employee computer usage at work--which includes the right to monitor their emails and web browsing, if done over employer-provided machines, internet connections, etc. Further muddying the waters is that you left the Facebook account open at work, which could be likened in some ways to leaving a private letter or inappropriate literature open on your desk--if employers see something an employee has, even accidentally put into the public sphere, they can take action. That said, there  is a significant difference between the employer acting based on the open page of your Facebook account, which he/she could have seen when walking by your desk--and sitting down at your desk and paging through your account.

Depending on the exact circumstances, you may have a cause of action; it is worthwhile to consult in detail with an employment law attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption