by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 25th 2011 10:01pm
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.
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