Ex-Employer Has To Pay Former Employees $4,000 For Email Snooping

from the watch-where-you-snoop dept

We've discussed a bunch of cases lately involving employers and the legality of reading emails of employees. The latest one is a bit strange. It involves the owner of a gym, who had two ex-employees set up a competing gym. Somewhere along the way, she became aware of some emails they wrote while still employed by her, planning out their new gym. It appears that this is because they accessed their private email accounts via the gym's computers, but left their accounts logged in. After a variety of back-and-forth maneuverings, the employer has been forced to pay $4,000 to the ex-employees for snooping on their emails, in violation of the Stored Communications Act. Of course, what's most interesting is that if the employer had wanted to get access to those emails legally, she could have probably used the normal discovery process during a lawsuit -- but by snooping, she ended up not being able to use those emails in her own lawsuit, and owing those ex-employees a few thousand dollars.

Filed Under: email, snooping, stored communications act


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    btrussell (profile), 26 Jan 2011 @ 3:53am

    So I guess if they were having sex in the office, owner walks in while they are taping, owner would have to leave so as to not violate their copyright and privacy.

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