- "The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated..."
- Northwest Airlines last week began court-authorized searches
of the home computers of between 10 and 20 flight attendants, looking for
private e-mail and other evidence that the employees helped to organize
a sick-out at the airline over the New Year's holiday.
- The search has since been suspended pending a temporary
settlement of the airline's lawsuit against Teamsters Local 2000, the union
representing 11,000 flight attendants. But privacy advocates and attorneys
not involved with the case say Northwest's action may embolden other companies
to more aggressively monitor what employees say and do online from their
home computers . . .
- Companies have rarely sought to search the home computers
of their employees. In the past, most such searches usually have been limited
to cases involving workers who've been accused of stealing company files,
passing on trade secrets to competitors or using insider information to
profit on the trading of company stock.
- . . . The threat of a court-authorized search of home
computers has already had one measurable impact: Postings to a rank-and-file
Web site that was openly critical of both union management and the company
have slowed to a trickle. Asked why the union didn't fight harder against
the effort to search employees' home computers, Billie Davenport, president
of Teamsters Local 2000, said the union complied with the discovery request
because it felt it had nothing to hide.
- MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE http://www.startribune.com/stOnLine/
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS' WEB SITE http://www.nwaflightattendants.com/
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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