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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Comments on “Attorney-Client Privilege Goes Away If You Email Your Lawyer From Your Work Email”

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Jesse says:

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.

simon says:


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 ….

Doug D (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

“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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