Unfortunately, many employees believe that by logging into a private email account or using third-party instant messaging software, their communications somehow bypass their employer’s systems and are considered “personal.”
This is simply not the case. If you use any part of your employer’s equipment to produce a communication, that communication may become part of your employer’s business records.
This means that, for lack of a better word, any “traffic” on a company’s network or equipment (computers, cell phones, etc.) is part of the employer’s business records and cannot only be reviewed by authorized representatives of the employer, but must be discoverable in future lawsuits.
Says David Simon, Esq. Of We Comply: “Most employees don’t realize that virtually everything they do on their work computers is archived within the company and could end up in the headlines tomorrow or in the next few days. court records for next year. “
Moral of the story: plain and simple: do not use your employer’s electronic resources for personal communications. By keeping your personal affairs away from your employer’s computer and network, you never have to worry about a newspaper or court case printing your “private” thoughts.
Also, if you are in business with more than one or two employees, a new year is a good time to review / update office, computer, and internet use policies. Review the LegalTypist article: End of the Year Technology Assessment [http://ezinearticles.com/?Year-End-Technology-Assessment-(YETA)&id=378749].
Once an employer reaches a certain number of employees, they are subject to increased regulatory obligations through local, state and federal government agencies. Policies that are already in effect should be reviewed and updated annually by a local employment and employment law attorney familiar with your industry.