Employers Who Read Employees’ E-Mail Face Risks

Employees have a right to e-mail privacy, as long as “there is a subjective expectation of privacy and that expectation is objectively reasonable,” or if the employee commits “an unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another,” according to Dr. Steven Abraham, J.D., Ph.D., university professor, and legal advisor. However most e-mail cases brought to court by employees who feel their rights have been violated have been unsuccessful because “the courts found that the employees did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Dr. Abraham discussed the procedure for creating an office e-mail policy and emphasized the importance of such a policy as a means of preventing employers from becoming liable for reading employee e-mail. Companies have a right to require employees to sign such a consent policy as a part of the terms of employment.

Anyone, employer or employee, who has questions about the rules regarding privacy of e-mail, the benefits of creating a formal e-mail policy, and the method for creating a policy that will be effective, will benefit from reading the full transcript of the workshop session.


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