Invasion of Privacy
Article 1, section 1 of the California Constitution recognizes certain "inalienable rights," including the right of privacy. Privacy interests protected by the state constitution generally include interests in precluding the dissemination or misuse of sensitive and confidential information ("informational privacy") and interests in making intimate personal decisions or conducting personal activities without observation, intrusion or interference ("autonomy privacy"). In addition, in California, liability for invasion of privacy can also arise from causes of action for intrusion into private matters, publication of private facts, false light, and misappropriation of a person's name or likeness.
In the employment context, violations of privacy can often occur where an employer engages in unjustifiable and overly intrusive monitoring of the employee, intrudes upon the employee's private affairs, violates the employee's confidentiality, or communicates false information about the employee.
What is intrusion into private matters?
An action for intrusion into private matters has two elements: 1) intentional intrusion into a private place, conversation or matter, including private affairs or concerns 2) in a manner highly offensive to a reasonable person. A claim for intrusion is proven only if the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place, conversation, or informational source.
What is publication of private facts?
Publication of private facts refers to the public disclosure of information about someone's personal life that has not previously been revealed to the public, that is not of legitimate public concern, and the publication of which would be offensive to a reasonable person. A private fact is an intimate detail of one's private life that is not generally known. Common examples of private facts include information about medical conditions, sexual orientation and history, and financial status.
What is false light?
Published material that is reasonably susceptible of an interpretation that implies false information regarding the individual may be actionable as false light invasion of privacy. False light claims are closely related to defamation, which also protects people from offensive and/or false facts stated about them.
What is misappropriation of a person's name or likeness?
The elements of a cause of action for misappropriation of name or likeness are 1) the defendant's use of the plaintiff's identify; 2) the appropriation of a plaintiff's name or likeness to defendant's advantage commercially or otherwise; 3) lack of consent; and 4) resulting injury.