Have you paid attention to the small print in the emails you send out or receive from others? It usually looks like this:
The use of XYZ Corporation’s email system may be monitored and communications read in order to secure effective operation of the system and for other lawful purposes…..
Email Use Policy Questions
- Should you use your corporate email for personal use?
- Who owns your work email?
- What are your rights as an employee in the workplace regarding email communications?
If you don’t remember anything else, remember this:
- The email communication system in your workplace is owned by your employer and they have the right to review and supervise its use.
- Email messages are not private.
- Deleted emails are not really deleted.
A network administrator or whoever is responsible for setting up employee emails can be instructed to make all your emails cc’ed (copied) to another mailbox for monitoring purposes. That is, everything that goes in and out of your email may be read by others.
Is this an invasion of privacy?
In a majority of cases, courts have ruled in favor of employer-defendants who conducted workplace email monitoring because the conduct was work-related and the employer had a legitimate work concern.
The ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) prohibits the intentional interception of any wire, oral or electronic communication, or the unauthorized access of stored communications. One way around this for employers is to provide employees with a policy manual regarding electronic communications in the workplace or include it in the Employee Handbook.
It is imperative that you read your Employee Handbook or Policy Manual properly about how the corporation monitors employees, access to emails and Internet usage. Don’t ignore it because in the event that there is any issue (hopefully not), that’s where the argument begins.