Former employer used ‘pretexting’ to get access to personal phone records.

In the summer of 2005 Kathy Lawlor’s dad showed her a white envelope he retrieved from his neighbor’s garbage can, deposited there by a man Lawlor suspected had been following her. “Probe” was typed in the return address field. Next to it was a picture of an eye that looked to Lawlor like the logo of a private detective agency. The discovery set in motion Lawlor’s four-year battle to protect her right to privacy, which culminated last month when a Cook County jury found that her former employer, Glenview-based North American Corp. of Illinois, obtained her telephone records without her authorization. The jury ordered the company, a business services firm, to pay her $1.8 million.

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