November 30th, 2009, 7:27 am
According to Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, some courts are siding with employees when companies monitor their personal e-mail without adequate warning.Companies claim they have the right to all keystrokes on company property, allowing them to delve into employees’ personal e-mail sent from work. But some judges are now siding with employees who had a reasonable expectation that their personal e-mail wouldn’t be accessed, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Among the cases highlighted in the article:
• A New Jersey appeals court ruled that a home health-care company facing a discrimination suit by a former employee could not rely on e-mail the plaintiff sent to her lawyer on a work laptop. Corporate policies did not suggest that an employee had no expectation of privacy in personal e-mail, according to the appeals court. “We reject the employer’s claimed right to rummage through and retain the employee’s e-mails to her attorney,” the opinion said.
• A former vice president of sales for a data management company sued when she learned her boss had been reading her personal e-mail account. The boss claimed he feared the employee was revealing trade secrets. A jury ruled for the employee, and the case settled.
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