can my employer log in to my personal email?

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can my employer log in to my personal email?

I have logged in to my personal
email from my work computer
before. Today I received a
mortification from google that
someone else logged in to my gmail
account. They gave me the city and
state along with the ip address of
where and when it took place and
the ip address is from my employer
at our corporate office.

Asked on September 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While this area of the law is not 100% settled or determined (i.e. it is still evolving) the general rule is that an employer may read emails sent or received on their systems or machines (through their server; on employer computers; etc.) but cannot access your account for anything not sent/received on their systems. Basically, they can read the "traffic" going across their systems or equipment (since those are THEIR systems and equipment, and they can access them, control what they are used for, etc.), but nothing beyond that.
If the employer has gone beyond that, you may wish to contract the police, the state  AG, and/or the federal FTC, but will face the hurdle of proving it was the employer and not, say, some coworker doing this on his/her own, without authorization or instruction from the employer--i.e. proving the wrongdoing and the identity of the wrongdoer may be difficult, unless the employer refers to, produces a copy of, etc. a personal email.
More practically: from a non-work computer, change your password. And do not log on again to personal email from a work computer or system, which is something that you should not be doing anyway--use your own phone, tablet, etc. to do this.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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