Society for Case Research / Global Jesuit Case Series Summer Workshop

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Patricia M. Sheridan

Whose Device is it Anyway?

Paul Iacovaaci was a managing director of Brevet Capital Management, a New York investment firm. Due to serious health issues, Iacovacci informed the company that he intended to retire. Negotiations regarding his severance package followed, but before an agreement had been reached, Brevet fired Iacovacci. He immediately filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Iacovacci discovered that, shortly after he had announced his retirement plans, Brevet remotely accessed his home computer to read his personal emails and to retrieve data stored on his external hard drives. Brevet denied hacking into Mr. Iacovacci’s computer, claiming that the computer was Brevet’s property because the company had purchased it. The employee handbook, which Iacovacci received each year, also warned employees that Brevet reserved the right to read and monitor all electronic documents stored or processed through the company’s computers. Did Brevet violate federal anti-hacking laws and infringe on Iacovacci’s privacy rights?