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Employee Privacy: Massachusetts

Employee Privacy requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Scott Roberts and David B. Wilson, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP


  • Massachusetts has a privacy statute which prohibits unreasonable, substantial, or serious interference with a person's privacy. See Privacy Statute.
  • Massachusetts law precludes the use of a person's name, picture or likeness for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade, without the person's written consent. See Misappropriation of Name or Likeness.
  • Workplace searches by private employers in Massachusetts are subject to a balancing test between an employee's right to privacy and employer's legitimate countervailing business reasons that could justify an employer's intrusion in certain circumstances. See Workplace Searches.
  • Massachusetts limits the manner in which an employer may consider an individual's past criminal convictions in making hiring decisions. Employers should not base any employment decision on past convictions of a job applicant or employee without first consulting with an attorney. See Background Checks of Employees.
  • Job-related preemployment testing is generally permissible in Massachusetts. Medical examinations and drug testing can be required following conditional offers of employment. See Medical Examinations; Drug Testing.
  • Massachusetts has strict data security laws which limit the ways in which employers may use employee personal information and require employers to follow certain procedures when storing personal employee records. See Employee Records.
  • Massachusetts prohibits the use of lie detectors in the hiring process. See Background Checks of Employees.
  • Massachusetts' wiretapping law is a two party consent law. Massachusetts makes it a crime to secretly record an in-person or telephone conversation without the consent of all parties to the conversation. This law also applies to secret video recording when sound is captured. See Electronic Monitoring of Employees.