Off-Hour Monitoring: Roulon-Miller vs. IBM Case Analysis

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Off-hour Monitoring IBM had policies in place to prevent conflict of interest between employees and a policy that stated that IBM respected an employee's right to privacy during off hours (Rosser, 2011). In the case of Roulon-Miller v IBM (1981), the plaintiff had worked for IBM for sixteen years and was terminated for a relationship with a former employee that was working for a competitor. The court ruling against IBM was based on inadequate policies to justify the action taken against the employee. The plaintiff had dated a former employee, Blum, who had gone to work for a competitor, for about a year. The former employee had moved out of state and the relationship had stopped. When the former employee moved back a year later, the relationship resumed. After a year had gone by, the plaintiff's supervisor told her that the relationship had presented a conflict of interest and gave her a couple of days to decide whether she would give up the relationship or lose her job. The next day the supervisor told her he had "made up her mind for her" and fired her. IBM was held liable for punitive damages on the basis of the fact that the plaintiff was entitled to privacy in her personal life. The conflict of interest policy was only when the employee's work performance was impaired. So, the policy did not stand up as a defense for IBM because the employee had worked for the company sixteen years with no documentation that performance was impaired. And, IBM had clearly stated

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