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BRIEF: Supreme Court ruling allows two women to sue former employer for invasion of privacy

This news story was published on December 24, 2011.
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Trish Mehaffey, Cedar Rapids Gazette –

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday a video camera hidden in a bathroom by an insurance agent doesn’t have to produce images for two employees to believe it’s an invasion of their privacy.

The two women, Sara Koeppel and Deanna Miller, can move forward with lawsuits they filed against Robert Speirs in 2006 in Black Hawk Country District Court, based on Friday’s ruling.

The women discovered the video camera hidden in a unisex bathroom at Speirs’s insurance office in Waterloo, where they were employed.

When the video camera was discovered it didn’t produce images, according to the ruling. Speirs said he installed the camera after becoming suspicious when he found a hypodermic needle in the parking lot near one of the women’s cars. He claimed he couldn’t get the equipment to work properly but never removed it.

The district court granted a summary judgment for Speirs, stating there was no proof that Speirs viewed any images or that the equipment had ever worked.

The Supreme Court ruled “harm from intrusion arises when a plaintiff reasonably believes an intrusion has occurred.”


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