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Microsoft Court Case Essay

1431 words - 6 pages

Bill Mclaren, Jr. v. Microsoft Corporation
In the United States, there is often a sense of freedom that is both enjoyed and expressed. This concept stems from the guiding principles of the new country's founding fathers. That foundation was created as a haven from oppression and the rights to live on their own. By extension the Amendments to the Constitution outlined specific liberties and freedoms that should be expected from the people of this new country.
One of the expectations that many people have is a sense they should have a right to privacy. While this is not unreasonable, as it has been narrowly provided for under the due process portion of the fourteenth amendment, it is not all encompassing. In the end the right to privacy has mainly been provided for personal and procreation rights, and otherwise on a case-by-case decision.
So with people feeling entitled to a right to privacy, is it almost inevitable that differences of opinions would occur in the workplace, and court cases would be raised dealing with an employee's right to privacy. The question that needs to be answered is where a corporation's rights and employee's rights are differentiated. Should employees have a reasonable expectation to privacy? Should companies have a reasonable right to access their employees various tools in the workplace?
Case Problem
In the privacy court case, Bill McLaren Jr. v. Microsoft Corporation, the main contention is whether a business has the right to intrude on a worker's privacy as it relates to personal emails. According to Beatty and Samuelson (2005), privacy rights can be violated under common law if the intrusion into the private life would be found offensive by a reasonable person. Bill McLaren Jr. was an employee of Microsoft who was under accusation for sexual harassment and suspicion of inventory issues. As the accusations were investigated, McLaren was denied access to his emails unless he specifically requested them and it was authorized. He sent a memorandum to Microsoft to not tamper with his workstation or his personal email folder. Microsoft later fired McLaren after their investigation was completed. Bill McLaren Jr. brought the court case against Microsoft for invasion of privacy as they entered into his computer and emails, which were password protected on the computer.
After analyzing this case, there are some strong foundations for each side of the case. Each side has certain facts and inferences that are presented and that make a solid basis for their arguments. For example, on the employee's side of the case, he did have a personal email folder that was under a password protection to prevent casual access. Bill Mclaren Jr. has also sent a memo to Microsoft stating to not tamper with is office workstation or his emails. On appeals, McLaren Jr. also makes the claim that by providing employees with personal email access and by allowing employees to password protection, Microsoft presented...

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