Court Says It’s OK To ‘Google’ Your Employees

Steve Bryant at Google Watch reports that a court has ruled it is OK to ‘Google’ your employees.

The case goes back to the firing of David M. Mullins from the U.S. Commerce Department for “misusing a government vehicle and credit card and falsifying travel documents,” says CSO. Mullins claimed, in an appeal, his right to fairness was violated by his employer using Google to learn that he was also fired from the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Air Force.

Three federal judges explained that Mullins was dismissed not because of information found in the Google searches but because of other information.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Legal | Legal: Privacy


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  • Michael Martinez

    This whole thing has been blown out of proportion by the blogging community. Computerworld appears to have broken the story and their headline only stated “Court: Googling an employee’s name is not a federal case”.

    The actual decision ( in no way makes any declarations about whether it’s legal for an employer to search on an employee’s name.

    The point in contention was whether Mullins was fired because his supervisor had learned (stipulated as being through Google) that he had been fired from two previous positions.

    The judges only upheld the employer’s point of view, that the decision to fire him had already been reached before they search on his name — and that therefore he was not denied due process or treated unfairly under the principle of “ex-parte communications”.

    The judges simply did not address the question of whether an employer has a right to search on employee names.

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