Should Employers Read Employees' Email

from the talking-about-ethics... dept

There’s an interesting column over at ZD concerning whether or not companies should read their employees’ emails and fire folks for talking bad about the company or doing non-work related items while at work. Personally, I think companies that do this are only fostering an environment of paranoia and mistrust. If that’s the environment you want, then go for it.

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Comments on “Should Employers Read Employees' Email”

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MrWhite (user link) says:

they......can, and do.........should they? Their

I am all for privicy……then again, I am all for freedom of employers. When I type email, non-releated @ work …cause I have to keep busy. I *never* put something whacky/evil in the Subject:

When I do type, in the body of a message, I type g*ns for guns, so that I am not filtered, sorta paranoid but then again I have reasons to believe it. I am a system admin, and I have to ‘snoop’ on people’s systems to find ‘dirt’ to get them fired. BAD and EVIL I say, but that is my job, you don’t make friends doing it but then again thes people should not be doing this stuff at work.

Judy Christopherson says:


Yes, I found out the hard way. I got fired apparently for an e-mail concerning a demotion and commenting on an affair going on in the office that i had complained about to upper management but nothing had been done about it. I was only emailing someone within the bank and that was all. When I went to court, it was found that they actually could produce no policy they had on it, and admitted it was OK to send personal email, so the judge ruled in my favor. I hate them for what they did. They have actually devasted me both emotionally and financially. I think they should have to disclose what exactly they are going to take offense to. There were other people sending pornography to people within the institution and they did nothing at all about it.

Adrienne says:


I personally believe, as a manager, that as long as the work is done, there is no problem at all with sending/reading personal email at work. I had an experience with a previous employee where she was spending all of her time at work looking for a new house, sending emails back & forth in attempts to buy a new home, all during her regular work hours. I would not normally have a problem with this however she was NOT doing the work I had assigned to her as a result of this. I approached her and told her that she was welcome to do what she wanted only after her work was completed because if her lack of work was causing me to fall behind, I had an issue with that. We talked about it and she agreed. Low & behold, she started working and got caught up. After that, I allowed her to continue with her home search. For those of us that spend all of regular business hours at work, I understand that it is difficult to get personal business done if it’s not done while we are at work. Plain and simple, get your work done first and then play.

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