The US Supreme Court will mull upon whether bosses need to be given the permission to read text meesages with sexual overtones sent by an employee using the company phone.
The issue has come alive after a California cop sent racy texts to his mistress on his SWAT pager.
The court's ruling is expected to have a lasting effect on the privacy of wireless communications.
"This could change the whole legal landscape of electronic monitoring at work," the New York Daily News quoted Lew Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, as saying.
The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had decided last year that Sgt. Jeff Quon could reasonably expect his steamy messages to stay private.
The reason was that the Ontario, California officers were only charged for exceeding a monthly character limit and were told that their texts would not be read.
When the officer in charge of assessing the overage payments got "tired of being a bill collector", the Ontario Police Chief Lloyd Scharf asked Arch Wireless for transcripts of the messages sent by Quon.
Quon's messages came to 46 pages, and many of then were X-rated texts sent to his mistress, dispatcher April Florio.
One message to his girlfriend read: "what r u wearing?"
Another text said: "i really do miss ur tight [rear end]."
Later Scharf ordered an investigation to find if the sexting was done while Quon was supposed to be on duty.
When the case reached the 9th Circuit, it held the City of Ontario and Arch Wireless, for breaching Quon's privacy.
Thereafter, both appealed to the Supreme Court. The case is expected to come up for hearing in late spring.