Can an employer open mail and keep contents?

My brother works for a pest control company in Sacramento, California.
Recently, he provided pest service to a woman who owns a minor league sports
team. The lady was grateful for his service and mailed him 8 complimentary
tickets to a sporting event. The letter was mailed to his work office and
addressed to him personally. One of the owners opened the letter and kept 3 of
the 8 tickets for themselves before supplying the thank you card and the
remaining 5 tickets to my brother. I understand companies can open mail that
arrives to their facility, with some risk involved, but is a company able to retain
information, etc. from that mail for their own use?

Asked on June 1, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can open mail sent to an employee at the work address: anything sent to an employee at his work address is really company mail, and the company can open it. 
Your brother provided the pest control services as part of his job, to a company client/customer, using (we presume) company resources: her thank you was therefore really a thank you to the company, not only to your brother personally, since the services were provided by the *company*, not him, even if he was the employee who went out on the call. Therefore, it was reasonable and legal for the company to keep part of the "thank you" sent to the company address for company services.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can open mail sent to an employee at the work address: anything sent to an employee at his work address is really company mail, and the company can open it. 
Your brother provided the pest control services as part of his job, to a company client/customer, using (we presume) company resources: her thank you was therefore really a thank you to the company, not only to your brother personally, since the services were provided by the *company*, not him, even if he was the employee who went out on the call. Therefore, it was reasonable and legal for the company to keep part of the "thank you" sent to the company address for company services.


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