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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Upholds Firing|of Worker Who Snooped

(CN) - A Memphis employee was properly fired after she used a city database to find the private phone number of the police officer who arrested her husband, a Tennessee appeals court ruled.

As a benefits specialist in Memphis, Jacqueline Redmon had access to city employees' personal information, including addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers.

After her husband was arrested, Redmon used the city database to find the phone number of arresting Officer Darnell Gooch. She called Gooch and asked him about the arrest.

Gooch, who had been a recent victim of identity theft, complained to Redmon's supervisor.

After a fact-finding hearing, Redmon was fired for violating city policies. She appealed to the city's civil service commission, which affirmed her firing.

Redmon filed a lawsuit challenging the commission's ruling, but the trial court also sided with the city.

Her appeal to the Tennessee Court of Appeals was similarly fruitless, as Judge Alan Highers ruled that she received due process and her firing was supported by the evidence.

"City employees have an expectation that their confidential information will be used only for business purposes," Highers wrote, quoting the commission's finding "that the City must demand security and confidentiality of sensitive personnel information and must not permit that information to be to be used for any personal use, no matter how harmless it may appear, without express permission or authorization."

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