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Garrity v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
2002 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8343 (2002)


Nancy Garrity and Joanne Clark (Employees) (plaintiffs) were employees of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company (John Hancock) (defendant). In July 1999, the Employees were terminated after John Hancock discovered that they had been forwarding sexually explicit e-mails from third parties, including Garrity’s husband, to their coworkers. John Hancock found that the Employees had violated the company e-mail policy, which prohibited certain content and maintained that management had a right to access all of an employee’s e-mail files. John Hancock had periodically reminded its workers of the e-mail policy and also provided examples of employees who had been disciplined for violations. After being terminated, the Employees brought an action against John Hancock, claiming in part that John Hancock had invaded their privacy. Specifically, the Employees contended that John Hancock had created a reasonable expectation of privacy for personal correspondence sent using company e-mail because John Hancock had instructed the Employees on the creation of personal passwords and private folders. John Hancock moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Employees had no reasonable expectation of privacy for correspondence sent using company e-mail.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Zobel, J.)

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