You might have a federal case when a public employee discloses private things about you

Posted June 2012 in Civil Rights by Andrea C. Farney

The U.S. Supreme Court has found certain constitutional “zones of privacy” that are rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment.  The first privacy interest is the “individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters.”  The second is the “interest in independence in making certain kinds of important decisions.”  In Jane Doe v. Luzerne County, 660 F.3d 169 (3d Cir. 2011), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found a Sheriff and deputy sheriff may have violated the first type of privacy interest when they allegedly filmed a female deputy sheriff with no covering of her breasts and buttocks.  The Third Circuit found Doe had a reasonable expectation of privacy when she was in a closed room undergoing a naked inspection by another female officer.   Doe and her partner had been called to a site and were contaminated with fleas.  The Defendants claimed they were making a training video, but the Third Circuit pointed to facts showing this was a dubious claim – no official training ever held, no actual training video produced, and an informal showing of the pictures and video to selected employees only.  For an assessment of your constitutional right to privacy, contact Triquetra Law @ 717-299-6300. 

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