The Massachusetts Bar Association's Public Law Section held its
sixth annual conference on Thursday, Nov. 1 at the MBA, 20 West
St., Boston. This year's conference delved deeply into the issues
surrounding the private lives of public employees. A wide array of
speakers examined state law, regulations and employer policies that
impose limitations on what public employees can do, both "on" and
"off" the clock.
Public Law Section Chair Michele Randazzo began the conference by
posing the question, "Where is the line between employee's privacy
interests on the one hand, and on the other, government employer
interests in efficient operations?" This theme resonated throughout
the program with Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha cautioning public
employees and those in supervisory roles that, "anything you do,
say, text, or e-mail could end up on the front page of the paper."
Cunha advised agency leaders that clearly communicating this
concept is key to have public employees better understand the
Other conference panelists discussed the limits a public employer
can place on the use of social media by its employees, both on and
off the job. Robert Fitzgerald from the Lorenzi Group led a very
lively discussion on online monitoring.
The conference concluded with a keynote address from the Hon.
Timothy S. Hillman of the U.S. District Court for the District of
Massachusetts. Hillman offered valuable insights on evidentiary
issues related to electronic discovery.