Dangerous Fantasies and Everyday “Hacking”: The Second Circuit Decides on Criminal Liability for Employees’ Online Behaviors

handcuffs-computer-600x400.pngBy Julie Liu

It is generally understood that certain online behaviors can lead to trouble in the employer-employee context. Many of us are familiar with stories of people who were fired or denied jobs after posting incendiary selfies, offensive messages, or rants about work on social media. While risking one’s employment status is enough to worry about, being criminalized for online behaviors is an entirely different possibility. Up until last week, one case has led second circuit courts to wrestle with defining the criminal liability associated with two particular online behaviors: the violation of workplace policies on computer use, and “thoughtcrime,” specifically the online posting of fantastical statements. Continue reading