After your exploration of the Technology Integration Matrix where would you
place yourself on the Matrix? In 150 to 250 words, reflect on your placement and explain what you could
do to move to the next level.
Legal Issues Case Study Part I
Human Rights 2
The paper sets out to evaluate the rights and liabilities of Dolittle with references to human
rights enacted in 1998. To help understand the case, the paper is structured in seven sections.
While the paper determines whether or not there was a violation against Dolittle, it highlights
legal options and ethical issues in resolving the dispute. In building the case, the paper will
examine the intellectual property statutes referring to Lacey’s Scenario. Dolittle’s searches and
seizures will be evaluated from a constitutional point of view. In the case of Lida Lott, the issue
of confidentiality relative to the employer-employee relationship will be discussed.
Dolittle’s Rights under the Human Rights Act of 1998
The 1998 Human Rights Act was enacted with the intention of defining the extent and impact
of the rights of an employer to monitor the communications of employees, including those
conducted in the course of suing the internet and precisely, emails. The Act’s scope, however,
expressly protects the rights of employers in the public sector. Under the Act, individuals are
conferred with rights to enable them to sue public authorities when they strongly opine that their
rights under the Act have been violated. In effect, employees of public authorities are given the
mandate to sue their employers when their rights to privacy and correspondence have been
breached. This is provided for under Article 8 of the Act. Dolittle was an employee of a private
company, and the main question, therefore, remains whether or not the Human Rights Act of
1998 is applicable to him. On the face of it, the employees in the private sector are not expressly
conferred with rights under the Human Rights Act. However, the Act provides that courts and
tribunals are compelled to interpret the legislative provisions on a larger scope. This provision
Human Rights 3
bestows on private sector employees the same rights as those of public authorities, albeit the fact
that these rights are applicable indirectly on them.
Was there violation against Dolittle’s Rights?
Whether or not the Dolittle’s right to privacy was breached would be determined with the
move by the employer to seek the consent of employees. In most cases, as was the case in
Dolittle, the consent provides monitoring consisting of all communications at the discretion of
the employer. In the event, an employee consents, and then the employer has the right to
monitor, even beyond the durations of employment. Summarily, by consent, an employee waives
their privacy rights in regards to correspondence. Given that the employee handbook had express
provisions as to the monitoring standard, Dolittle consented to waive his right when he signed
and accepted to work for Home Dacor. In the event there was a breach without consent, then this
would create liability on the part of the employer. In the Ms. Halford case which was before the
European Court of Human Rights, it was held that knowledge and consent are essential in
establishing monitoring rights. Section 6 (13) of the Telecommunications (Lawful Business
Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations of 2000 also illegalizes any interception
without proper indications to the employee, before such interventions (Keh-Luh, Chi, & Chiu-
Protection of individual or employee rights on their emails, message and calls can be
limited to certain scenarios (Miller, 2016). Usually, employers will be allowed to monitor such
correspondence in certain scenarios; when checking if an employee is spending excessive time
doing personal communications and activities such as playing games. This is because such
actions would infringe on the rights of employers to get services they pay for. The second
justification for allowing monitoring of employee email accounts would be to ensure offensive
Human Rights 4
messages do not pass from employees to other parties. When there is a reason to believe that for
instance, there are cases of sexually inappropriate material correspondences, then the employer
can seek the employee’s consent to monitor their communication. Dolittle’s rights were not
infringed, and his allegations are therefore unwarranted.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Clauses and their Effects
According to the issue raised, the employee handbook contained an Alternative Dispute
Resolution clause, which has the effect of seeking ADR remedies before approaching a court of
law in the event of a conflict between an employee and the company, say Home Dacor. It would
be very wrong to deny the parties to a contract, such as that between Dolittle and Home Dacor,
their right to choose which laws apply in the event of a breach of contract. Hilty, (2015) states
that the main reason why parties would agree to an ADR clause is to ensure that conflicts are not
subjected to judicial proceedings until all the ADR alternatives are inadequate as to provide
sufficient remedy to the offended party. In the case of AMF v Brunswick 1985 Supp. 456, a
District Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act was the backbone for the implementation of
ADR clauses. Under the Act, Section 2 provides that ADR clauses are to be embraced fully, and
all means of dispute resolution under the ADR tier are to be fully exhausted before the matter
can be lodged as a suit in a court of law. This was also the position in the case of Allied
Sanitation Inc. v Waste Management Holdings Inc. 2000 Supp. 2d 320. The provision in the
employee handbook to refer matters to an ADR tribunal is therefore legally binding and Dolittle
is left with no choice but follow the procedures under ADR before approaching a court of law.
Dolittle’s Constitutional Rights – Searches and Seizures
Human Rights 5
The issue to consider in the Norder-Dolittle scenario is whether or not Norder searched the
car after establishing probable cause, and whether or not the officer had a warrant to that effect.
The 4th Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens from arbitrary searches and seizures
without warrants. The rule is quite clear that it would be an outright intrusion by government
agents to search if they lacked a warrant. In the landmark case of Wolf v Colorado (1949), Felix
J. contended that arbitrary intrusion into an individual’s privacy by the police was a violation and
against the doctrines of a free society. This was deemed a great violation of human rights,
protected under the US Constitution. In issuing a warrant, a judge or magistrate is to observe
discretion, but bear in mind the need for probable cause.
The test subjected in this case is, therefore, that of probable cause. In the case of Weeks v
United States (1914), the Supreme Court found that evidence collected without probable cause or
warrant was to be regarded as illegally obtained, hence inadmissible as evidence is court. In
another case of United States v Leon (1984), the Supreme Court held that even in the rare
exceptions, judges were tasked with the responsibility of determining probable cause, and not
police officers or other government agents. There has been an evolution of case laws, which have
directed that there is an exception to the warrants rule. In United States v Ross (1982), the Court
of law ruled that police officers had the authority to search a vehicle entirely, only in the event
they had probable cause to suspect there were drugs in the car (Oprea, 2012). This befits this
scenario perfectly, and Norder had probable cause when she saw a can of beer on the car seat.
Lida Lott’s Duty of Confidentiality
This question addresses a very precise legal relationship, which is the existence of an
employer-employee relationship, and the duty of confidentiality bestowed on the part of the
employer. Definitely, by signing the employment contract, there is a relationship between Lida
Human Rights 6
Lott and Dolittle. Jurisprudence has indicated that before an employer, whether during the time
of employment or after termination, has to seek the consent of the employee before providing
any information to third parties unless the information sought is with regards to disclosure on the
title at the workplace, wages, and salary or date of employment. This was the determination in
the case Magnano v Bellsouth Telecommunications Inc. (1992). The case of Conkle v Joeng
(1995) also discusses the case of giving information to a prospective employer. It was held that
information given to future employers has to be in good faith for the previous employer to escape
civil liability. It is, therefore, clear that Lott is liable for giving malicious information to
Dolittle’s prospective employer.
Intellectual Property Laws – Lacey’s Scenario
According to the facts provided, Lacey copied images from various sites and used them
develop Home Dacor’s website. She later claims that the law of fair use applies to her. First, it is
necessary to note that the fair use of doctrine applies to any copyrighted work, and that include
internet postings and materials. However, as was decided in Basic Books v Kinko’s Graphics
Corporation (1991) fair use can only be involved in the event of infringement allegations,
especially when materials sought are educational, and not profitable (Kaplin & Lee, 2011). The
Copyright Act provides for certain factors that the court considers fair use because of the nature
of copyrighted works, the amount of materials retrieved and effects of using such material. This
means that Lacey was infringing copyright law, and cannot invoke the fair use doctrine, as the
website was not non-profitable, but used to market the company (Diane, 2016).
Human Rights 7
Just like the employer has a duty to exercise confidentiality, employees who leave an
organization still carry the duty to keep the secrets of that company, and are not supposed to
disclose such information to the public (Yerby, 2013). Equal measure of obligations will be
required under employer-employee confidentiality requirements. Dolittle can also accrue civil
liability by the fact of defaming his former CEO.
The fact that the employer monitors Dolittle’s internet usage and personal emails is an
ethical issue. Monitoring internet usage and personal emails in workplace can put workers and
employers at odds because the two parties are trying to safeguard their interests. Workers want to
protect their privacy and employers aim at making sure that resources are not misused.
Therefore, the solution to this issue is ensuring ethical monitoring of workers by ensuring that
monitoring workers’ intern usage is not indiscriminately conducted. Employers monitor
employees online activities to safeguard their firms from legal issues that may emerge due to
illegal use of computers. Moreover, employers are also worried about declining productivity as
some workers use the internet to do their personal tasks (Oprea, 2012). The ethical issue that
organizations experience when safeguarding their interests when motoring workers’ internet use
is ensuring that they do not it that workers lose their privacy in place of work.
The paper determined to evaluate the rights and liabilities of Dolittle. The human rights
enacted in 1998 informed the basis if the discussion. Apart from determining whether or not
Dolittle’s rights had been breached, there was a window to redressing the issue. The Lacey’s
scenario was used in used evaluate the intellectual property laws. Again, the searches and
Human Rights 8
seizures for Dolittle’s scenario were cross-examined from a constitutional perspective. Lastly the
employer-employee relationship was evaluated with reference to the Lida Lott case.
Diane, P. (2016). Intellectual Property Rights in an Age of Electronics and Information. DIANE
Hilty, L. M. (2015). Ethical issues in ubiquitous computing—three technology assessment
studies revisited. In Ubiquitous Computing in the Workplace (pp. 45-60). Springer
Kaplin, W. & Lee, B. (2011). The Law of Higher Education. New York: John Wiley and Sons
Keh-Luh, W., Chi, C., & Chiu-Mei, T. (2012). Integrating human resource management and
knowledge management: from the viewpoint of core employees and organizational
performance. International Journal Of Organizational Innovation, 5(1), 109-137.
Miller, R. (2016). Cengage Advantage Books: Business Law Today, The Essentials: Text and
Summarized Cases. New York: Cengage Learning.
Oprea, M. (2012). An Agent-Based Knowledge Management System for University Research
Activity Monitoring. Informatica Economica, 16(3), 136-147.
Yerby, J. (2013). Legal and ethical issues of employee monitoring. Online Journal of Applied
Knowledge Management, 1(2), 44-55.