“Right of Privacy” Protects Against Verbal Disclosure of Confidential Employee Information

By March 21, 2013Articles

For decades, the unauthorized public disclosure of confidential information had to be in writing in order to state an actionable “right to privacy” claim under California’s common law. That all recently changed. On March 18, 2013 in the case of Melissa Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc., the Court of Appeal eliminated the writing requirement. Plaintiff alleged a single cause of action for public disclosure of private facts. Ignat alleged that her supervisor publically disclosed Ignat’s psychiatric condition to co-workers. The trial court granted Yum! summary judgment in its favor as Ignat did not have any written evidence that her supervisor disclosed private facts about her.

On appeal, Yum!’s summary judgment was reversed. The Court of Appeal held that the common law cause of action for violation of a person’s right to privacy by unauthorized public disclosure of private facts does not require the disclosure be in writing.

To read the case decision, click here:

Melissa Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc., et al