The National Labor Relations Board’s position is that employers cannot prohibit employees from using company email after hours for nonbusiness purposes. The reason for this position is that reasonable employees could believe that they would not be allowed to engage in concerted activity, such as union organizing, under such a ban. But even though the NLRB allows this type of commingling, savvy employees will keep personal email separate from business email.
Certainly, it is convenient to have all of your email in one place. And many employers allow you to configure your personal email to stream into your business account. But the best practice is to use your business email for business only. Don’t mesh the accounts, and don’t use work email for personal purposes.
There are at least two solid reasons to maintain strict separateness. First, most employers have structured their systems so that they have legitimate access to everything on or in their computers and devices. If you use these systems for personal reasons, you risk having an employer check in on you or, worse yet, obtain information to use against you.
In a best case scenario, it could be that you waste time using work email for personal reasons. Your employer could certainly take offense to time-wasting and could discipline you for this reason alone. But it could be worse. Your employer could see an age- or sex-related joke, or some other impropriety, and you could find yourself out of a job.
The second reason to avoid sloppiness in this area is even more important. Many conversations between lawyers and their clients are protected by law. If you communicate with your lawyer about a legal issue, your communication, written or oral, cannot generally be discovered by the other side in a lawsuit. The purpose of the attorney-client privilege is to allow people to communicate freely with their lawyers, to enhance the legal advice that is given.
If you use a business email account to communicate with your discrimination lawyer in Redding, you have likely waived any claim of privilege over the communication. And the same is probably true even if you use your personal email account on a company-provided computer or device.
The safest bet is to keep your personal thoughts and emails on your own devices and accounts. Contact us today for more information.
Sacramento, CA 95821