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A man walks into his workplace thinking that it will be another normal day at work However his employer calls him into his office and fires him on the basis that he had written offensive threats in an email towards one of his bosses The employee now files a wrongful discharge action alleging that the employers actions violated his right of privacy The employee also states that the company had assured its employees that all email would remain confidential The employer strike back by saying that he should have the right to have interest in preventing inappropriate and unprofessional comments over the email system The question is who is right in this case Does the employee have any privacy rights This answer is found in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act ECPA the only federal legislation that addresses this issue Stellin 1996 This act states that it a federal crime for an individual to intentionally or willfully intercept access disclose or use anothers wire oral or electronic communication Hernandez 1996 However the definition of Electronic Communication is defined as any transfer of signs signals writing images sounds data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire radio electromagnetic photo-electronic or photo-optical system that affects interstate or foreign commerceHernandez 1996 This act does not apply to workers in a private business because email in a private sector does not affect interstate commerce Dichter 1996 Therefore if there is no legislation that gives the right to an employee then judges in each case has to act on a trial by trial basis to determine whether the employer has the right to intrude into the employees privacy Although the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 established limits on employers ability to monitor their employees a new privacy act should be passed that explicitly addresses the employee and employer rights in the realm of Internet and emailThe advancements of technology in such a
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