Ever wonder what your privacy rights are as an employee? Can your boss read your emails on your work computer but not your personal computer?
Our friends at AOL Jobs set the record straight. For starters, if you’re sending messages to and from your email address at work, then it’s not your property. That email address belongs to your employer.
If you’re a new employee, you may have noticed some type of mention of this in the employee handbook or online consent agreement as it relates to intellectual property as well as social media policies, too.
As per the piece, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act provides employees with some protection but there are a few loopholes. For instance, if you get a message from someone you don’t know with a weird looking attachment (translation: Inappropriate), hit the delete key. Your employer can find an inappropriate message if they’re looking for a reason to let you go.
Plus, the piece recommends not emailing your lawyer from your work email account. (You may have to waive your attorney-client privilege.)
As for personal accounts like checking Gmail on a work laptop, you may want to think twice. Emails may sit on your company’s server indefinitely and some key-logging programs may capture your keystrokes (yes, this includes passwords).
If you leave your work email open when you go home and you happy to be fired before logging out, the company has access to read your messages.
How about your personal account on your home computer? Proceed with caution. If you’re doing company work on your personal computer, your employer may require software to be installed in order to have access to employer-related information. This software may give your employer access to your personal emails.