Did city of Ontario violated the fourth amendment obtaining the private messages of the employees sent trough the pagers provided by the city? Whether the employees were allowed to use the pagers for personal use?
Was there any policy explaining the details about personal use?
Whether there was a policy allowing the city to conduct a search or not and if the employees were aware that their messages might be reviewed?
The Fourth amendment protects the "Right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures." (US Const. Amend. IV) Quon and his fellow plaintiffs had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Jeff Quon was a police employee , and a member of Special Weapon and Tactics Team (SWAT). The city provided pagers for SWAT members with limited number of texting allowance. The pagers were issued for SWAT use but the employees were allowed to use them for personal purposes. Quan was reminded that his messages were not private and could be subject to review . Duka also gave him the option to reimburse the additional fee and not be subject to an audit. Quon and other members paid the city for the overage charges whenever they had additional use of their pagers. Duke informed the issue to the City Chief. He decided to audit the messages for research purposes to find out if the messaging limit needs to be increased for work. They found out that the members have violated the departmental policy and have used their pagers sending sexually explicit messages while on duty.
Quon and the other members complained that the city department and the Chief have violated the Forth amendment accessing the content of their private messages.