What are my rights if my employer accessed my personal browsing history on my home computer through synced google account?

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What are my rights if my employer accessed my personal browsing history on my home computer through synced google account?

Is this a violation of privacy laws? And do I have any recourse?

Asked on September 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is a violation if this was a personal computer if it was a business-provided computer, however, they had the right to access its browing history because it is their computer--it would belong to the employer. However, it is unclear what, as a practical matter, you can do about this 
1 The civil law system e.g. lawsuits provides compensation for actual losses or damages its goal is to compensate for what was taken from you or for quantifiable injuries, not to vindicate your rights. Unless you can show some quantifiable injury or loss from this, you would not be able to recover any monetary compensation.
2 It may be difficult to prove criminal intent--e.g. the employer may be able to convincingly state that this was some kind of an error or mistake--and without provable criminal intent, the criminal justice system which, in any event, prioritizes its computer/cyber-related resources for identity theft, commerical or bank account or credit card hacking, child pornography, etc., and so may not take the issue seriously may not be able to do anything.
3 The dept. of labor does not get involved in matters like this, generally.
Sadly, as practical matter, your recourse may to look for  a different job, with an employer who respects your rights and its boundaries.


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