Attorney-Client Privilege Goes Away If You Email Your Lawyer From Your Work Email

from the not-a-huge-surprise dept

It probably goes without saying that if you're planning to sue your employer, you shouldn't use your work email address to contact your lawyer. However, if you did do that, according to a California court, that email is not protected by attorney-client privilege. I don't find this to be all that surprising (or really, problematic). It's quite common that employers control the rights to your work emails, so it's hard to see why that wouldn't extend to emails you send your lawyer. All it really makes me wonder is why someone would use their work email for sending those types of emails.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Gary, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 7:14pm

    I used to work with/for a cheap bastard who would send out his job-hunting resumes via company email, to save the cost of a stamp. Unfortunately the rule was that any mail put into the outbox had to be unsealed---and the department head would regularly throw out his resumes with great glee, after showing them around.

     

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  2.  
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    Gray, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 7:17pm

    Re:

    I meant regular USPS mail, not email.

     

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  3.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 7:28pm

    "it really makes me wonder is why someone would use their work email for sending those types of emails."

    They want to get fired.

     

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  4.  
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    Jesse, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Sure I guess it kind of makes sense. But then employees technically own their restrooms right? They should probably be monitoring those too.

    Or what if employers provide housing for employees. Then employees probably don't need any privacy there.

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you Mike, but I hesitate to say that the fact that it's provided by the employer is what determines whether the employee should have to forfeit privacy.

     

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  5.  
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    Deimos280 (profile), Jan 19th, 2011 @ 8:35pm

    yeah...

    You cant walk down the street naked and yell "Dont look at me!" Privacy is important... but so is common sence. If I was sueing my employer, prolly wouldn't ask him for his cell phone to call my lawyer, let alone send a company monitored E-mail.

     

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  6.  
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    Transbot9, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 9:07pm

    Re: yeah...

    Or, y'know, talk about it on Facebook.

     

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  7.  
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    simon, Jan 19th, 2011 @ 11:51pm

    Well...

    I think if employer lets known fact that company e-mail system is monitored to the rest, for whatever reason, then privacy over that is understood both ways, if not forewarned, then is still place of a question there, anyway, today on tech level only your thoughts can be private, unless you write them down somewhere. isn't it so strange we give up the privacy so easy under threat of fear for security, and when the bad thing happened is always blamed that technology was the fault and not enough, etc... but all tech depends like always on a few little things, electricity, inter-connectivity that is not so redundant ... so will fail to other influences... and always same problem who's watching the watchers ....

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 2:37am

    Re: Well...

    It's been pretty well established for years now that your employer's e-mail system belongs to your employer.

    Don't be stupid folks.

    Oh, and whatever you're posting on TD or any other site from your employer's laptop? Well, yeah, they can see that too.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    Re:

    Your are young aren't you?

    Until the 60's there where this large glass domes in the bathrooms so employers could come in and get people reading the paper.

    But things changed, Unions got stronger and they make a feel changes it that regard.

     

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  10.  
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    Woadan, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    "All it really makes me wonder is why someone would use their work email for sending those types of emails."

    Some government agencies block all commercial email services. You're not paid to visit them on their time.

     

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  11.  
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    lrn2postnubs, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 7:18am

    But what about...

    But what about using a third party, web-based email account such as Gmail while at work where your company uses a man-in-the-middle device for SSL-decryption and re-encryption to ensure PCI compliance?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 7:19am

    "All it really makes me wonder is why someone would use their work email for sending those types of emails."

    The people who were clueless ten years ago are still clueless today. They don't understand how email works or why they shouldn't do personal business using it.

    Companies are not always as transparent in their monitoring practices as they could be. These people have no idea that their network activity is being monitored until it bites them in the butt. And when it does, they still don't know what's really happening.

     

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  13.  
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    Doug D (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Well...

    If you read your employee handbook I'll be willing to bet there's very specific information stating how they retain the right to read all Emails and there is no expectation of privacy. And of the last 6 companies that I supported as an admin, 4 of them did active/passive monitoring of all Emails. I've yet to see a company that doesn't clearly document their ownership of anything you send out via their Email.

    Internet is more of a mixed boat but it's always better to err on the side of safety and assume they're watching that too.

     

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  14.  
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    TheStupidOne, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    And collect unemployment benefits while freeing up lots of time for actual job hunting

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Re: But what about...

    That's exactly what I came to post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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