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Privacy issues arise regularly in employment environments. Employers frequently assert privacy rights when denying non-employee union organizers access to employment premises and limiting the distribution of union literature or the solicitation of authorization cards by current employees. On the other hand, when employers desire to monitor employee computer usage on firm computers to be sure they are not accessing inappropriate sites or engaging in other inappropriate electronic behavior, they give short shrift to employee privacy claims. When employer premises are open to the general public, non-employee access to external areas such as parking lots might provide an appropriate accommodation between the property rights of employers and the statutory rights of employees and labor organizations. Since Internet access may be used to assist unions to communicate with employees being organized or to allow employees to communicate with each other regarding union organizing or other work related issues, this avenue of communication should not be denied to employees if they are otherwise permitted to use employer provided Internet service for non-work related purposes.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 266; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 266

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