Did you tell your manager or employer something private in confidence that was publicized without your permission? Were you embarrassed by your information being shared? Did it offend you or did the publicity somehow damage you? If this has happened to you, you may have an invasion of privacy claim.
What is an Invasion of Privacy?
Invasion of privacy is a cause of action created by Wisconsin Statutes section 995.50. Under the statute, an invasion of privacy is defined in multiple ways; however, in the employment context, it generally arises when publicity is given to the private life of another, the disclosure of which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
The information disclosed has to be disclosed to a substantial number of people or to a group of a smaller size in particular circumstances and cannot be information that is publicly available. If the private nature of the information is already public, then it is not private, and its disclosure does not constitute an invasion of privacy. Similarly, if the information disclosed is information you have voluntarily shared with others, then it is not protected.
How to Prove Invasion of Privacy & What Can be Recovered
Wisconsin courts have found that in order to prove a claim for invasion of privacy in the context discussed here, you have to establish:
- There was a public disclosure of factual information about you
- The information disclosed was private, not voluntarily shared, by you, with others, and not publicly available
- The subject matter of the private information is highly offensive to the average person
- The partyresponsible for the public disclosure acted unreasonably or recklessly with respect to whether there was a legitimate public interest in the fact(s) disclosed or with the actual knowledge that there was none
How to Prove Public Disclosure
To prove a public disclosure, generally you have to prove that the disclosure was made to a substantial number of people. However, based on the nature of your relationship with the people your private information was shared, sometimes a small group can suffice. For example, courts have held that disclosures among employees or coworkers can be sufficient.
If you prove your claim, you can obtain:
- Equitable relief – generally a court order directing the party responsible for the disclosure to not do it again
- Compensatory damages – monetary damages based on your compensable “loss”
- Attorney fees
The Walcheske & Luzi, LLC Difference
At Walcheske & Luzi, LLC it is our pledge to provide open and honest advice, taking the time to listen, counsel, and advise. We will work closely with you to determine if you are the victim of invasion of privacy. Tell us about your invasion of privacy case, we’re ready to help.
Check out our testimonials section, where former clients have described their past experiences with us.