Email & Communication Privacy

California law prohibits employers from demanding the social media passwords and usernames of employees and prevents employers from asking their staff to log into social media in their presence.

Are You Getting Paid to Answer Emails and Calls After Work

Generally, both state and federal law prohibits eavesdropping on confidential communications. This may occur in the workplace by monitoring telephone calls, or by recording confidential conversations. An employee may consent to the monitoring of their communications. California law is more prohibitive than federal law, which may allow extension telephones which are used in the usual course of business to be monitored. California Penal Code §631 prohibits wire tapping. California Penal Code §632 prevents eavesdropping or recording of a confidential conversation, without the consent of all parties.

Under very limited circumstances set forth in California Penal Code §638, a party may be allowed to record a confidential communication for the purpose of obtaining evidence reasonably believed to relate to the commission by the other party to the communication, of a serious crime. No person should ever record the confidential communication of another person without first seeking legal counsel, since such recording could be a crime. Unlawful disclosure of the contents of a confidential communication may also result in criminal prosecution.

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Many employers will require as a condition of employment, consent of the employee that the telephone calls made at work are not considered confidential communications. The communications are then not considered private and there is not a “reasonable expectation” of privacy.

Employers may require an acknowledgment by employees of the company’s policy that the email account used at work is not private for personal use. The policy will typically state that your email is to be used only for business purpose and that the employer has the right to monitor email and computer files. This policy defeats the notion that an employee has any reasonable expectation of privacy, and means that your emails may be read by the company and other employees. Employers do not have very many obstacles to keep them from searching your emails or computer. Most Courts that have considered this issue have ruled in favor of the employer.

For more information or for a free case evaluation call 1-877-219-8481

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Michael L. Carver

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