Is it legal for me to read the emails of an employee?

UPDATED: Dec 8, 2011

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Is it legal for me to read the emails of an employee?

It is a company account.

Asked on December 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, employees have no right to or expectation of privacy when using a work computer to write or receive email. In fact, it makes no difference and does not matter when the emails were sent or that they used a personal account to receive them. If they were using their email account on a work computer, you as their employer have the right to look at them. If employees want privacy in their on-line life, they are best advised to use their home computer, not the one at work.

Note: Publicly disseminating their private information may cause you to violate certain of their rights. So be careful with what you do with any information that you may read.

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 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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