Privacy in Employment Law, Fifth Edition


New Supplement!

This treatise is a dependable reference on the law of privacy in the workplace, as addressed fragmentally in state and federal constitutions, statutes, and court decisions.


Privacy in Employment Law offers clear guidance on the limits of employer authority in securing information about applicants and employees, disclosing such information, and controlling activities in the U.S. workplace. Its comprehensive coverage includes lists of state laws relevant to workplace privacy, including drug testing, access to personnel files, lie detection, electronic monitoring, and more, as well as selected foreign statutes and the European Union (EU) directive on privacy law. 

Representative topics examined in the Fifth Edition include:  

  • the confidentiality of medical records under the ADA, and of medical certifications under the FMLA;

  • how employee drug-testing policies are impacted by medical marijuana use and marijuana decriminalization;

  • the lawfulness of inquiry into applicant pay history;

  • acquisition and use of biometric data;

  • access to and use of employee social media; and

  • interception of electronic communications.

Supplement Information

The new 2019 Supplement contains the following new developments: 

  • Whether employers owe employees a duty of care in the storage of personally identifiable information in electronic form
  • New legislative prohibitions on inquiry into applicant pay history
  • New “ban the box” laws regulating inquiry into applicant criminal record
  • More on what “clear and conspicuous” notice means under the Federal Fair Credit Regulating Act
  • New laws protecting the expression of racial identity in hairstyle
  • More on whether privacy is invaded by the placement of an inoperative video camera
  • Whether gig worker privacy is invaded when a competitor of the company uses deception to get customer and platform electronic transmissions sent to the gig worker
  • More on what access to a computer “in excess of authority” means under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
  • On absolute privilege for mandatory SEC forms
  • Whether an employer owes a duty to investigate the facts before making an injurious statement about an employee
  • On the National Labor Relation’s Board’s narrowing the scope of protection for employee speech protesting working conditions
  • On the protection accorded “greater identification”
  • Religious belief as a basis of objecting to a work request and the addition of “nonreligion” as a category protected against discrimination in employment
  • More on the role of employee expression on social media in relation to discharge and eligibility for unemployment compensation
  • On the required allocation of private space to accommodate the expression of milk, and
  • On the relationship of the decriminalization of marijuana to employer drug testing

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Part I. An Analysis of Privacy in the Employment Relationship

Medical Screening and Testing

  • Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Screening and Testing

  • Psychological Screening and Testing

  • Interviews and Background Investigation

  • Monitoring Employee Performance and Conduct

  • Control of Employees

Part II. Statutory and Regulatory References

  • Polygraphy and Lie Detection
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing

  • Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, or Lawful Products Outside the Workplace

  • Access to Personnel Records

  • Job Reference Immunity

  • Social Security Numbers

  • Electronic Monitoring and Surveillance

    Appendix (GDPR)

    Table of Cases



    Matthew W. Finkin is the Albert J. Harno and Edward W. Cleary Chair in Law at the University of Illinois, where he also holds appointments in the Center for Advanced Study and the School of Labor and Employment Relations.

    Main Edition Published:  2018

    ISBN:  978-1-68267-534-2

    2019 Supplement ISBN: 978-1-68267-737-7

    Order #3737


    "The law of privacy in the workplace is governed by an often confusing array of statutory provisions and court decisions. This work provides a coherent overview of these disparate sources of law.”

    Kendall F. Svengalis

    Legal Information Buyer's Guide and Reference Manual

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