Invasion of privacy is generally associated with criminal offenses, but there are also ways to invade a person’s privacy that can give rise to civil litigation against a business.  There are a few different scenarios under which a business can find itself accused of invasion of privacy:

  • Unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another

This type of invasion of privacy requires the victim, or plaintiff, to establish that their private affairs have been intentionally invaded; that the invasion would be offensive to any reasonable person; that the intrusion involved a private matter; and that it caused them mental anguish or suffering. Examples of when businesses or their employees might be accused of this offense would include when employees learn that they have been spied upon in a locker room or bathroom.

  • Appropriation of another’s name or likeness

This type of invasion of privacy refers to unauthorized us of an individual’s name, photograph, voice, likeness, or endorsement. It is generally applied when a business infers a testimonial or use of a product or service without having gotten that person’s permission.

  • Public disclosure of private facts that might put a person in a negative or false light

People have the right to maintain their secrets without a company, or a co-worker, disclosing them. To prove this case the victim would need to establish that the information in question was not known to the public; that there was a disclosure of private information; and that the disclosure would have been offensive to any reasonable person. Examples might include disclosure of sexual orientation, medical information, mental health, or financial status.

Though each of these individual categories is very different, they all represent a harm to an individual for which a business can be liable, whether as a result of action on the part of the company itself or actions taken by an employee. Businesses can also be held responsible if their outreach to potential customers via email or telephone is persistent and does not offer the individual the ability to opt out.

If you have been accused of invading another’s privacy and need guidance about your legal options, contact our experienced attorneys today.