What Is Invasion of Privacy? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is Invasion of Privacy?
  • 0:28 Deception
  • 1:05 Violation of Confidentiality
  • 1:29 Intrusion & Misappropriation
  • 2:30 Undisclosed Workplace…
  • 2:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Winston

Kimberly has a MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Most people have heard of the term invasion of privacy, but what does it mean? In this lesson, you'll learn what invasion of privacy means, especially as it relates to business. Some business examples will be provided.

What is Invasion of Privacy?

Invasion of privacy is a legal term. It is used to describe a circumstance where an individual or organization knowingly intrudes upon a person. The intrusion occurs when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in a bathroom or locker room.

An invasion of privacy is considered to be a tort. A tort is a wrongful act that causes injury or loss to someone resulting in legal responsibility for the wrongful act.


One type of invasion of privacy, in some states, is called deception. Deception occurs when an employer collects information he claims is for one reason but uses it for another reason, which could result in the employee's termination.

An example of deception is if an employer sets up a blood drive and tells employees that donations will be used to aid a local blood bank. The blood drawn from employees is tested for drugs as part of the process. The employer could be accused of deception if he uses the drug results as a reason to terminate employees if employees did not consent to being drug tested.

Violation of Confidentiality

A second type of invasion of privacy is violating an employee's confidentiality. This occurs when information given in confidence is then given to a third party.

For example, an employee has a wife and children but decides to leave his insurance policy to an unrelated female coworker. If the human resources manager reveals this confidential information to another employee, it is considered an invasion of privacy.

Intrusion & Misappropriation

A third type of invasion of privacy is intrusion. This occurs in business when an employer intrudes in an employee's private life. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business and an employer may not interfere with that because you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

An example of an intrusion is if an employer listens to personal conversations an employee has in his home. The employer then uses the information he has learned to harm the employee in some way, such as disclosing it to others or terminating the employee.

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