||Oracle Tips by Burleson
Inappropriate E-mail Use
Electronic mail use has become an everyday
activity for millions of people; especially in the workplace. IT
professionals have become reliant upon this communications medium to
perform their job functions. Email use is so prevalent that people
have become nonchalant about what is acceptable use or not in the
workplace where it is common to find personal and business email use
occurring in tandem.
Inappropriate email use can occur in many forms.
Many IT professionals regularly exchange emails that contain
unacceptable content. This may include inappropriate language, images,
and video clips. Email with off-color jokes or images that were meant
to be funny may not be funny to some and it they should not be
tolerated at all. Company policies should explicitly condemn such use
of electronic resources.
is another unacceptable behavior
that is perpetrated through company electronic resources. Some
employees feel secure using email to threaten others. It is surprising
the number of attacks that occur through this medium. Emails can
easily be monitored and reviewed by employers and they regularly are.
Many companies monitor emails for specific words and flag them for
content review. The employees really are on the losing end of these
types of activities. Technology has progressed so dramatically that it
is virtually impossible to evade detection when using electronic
facilities for improper purposes. Yet these activities continue to
occur and employees continue to get fired.
E-mail Use – Case 1
In the case of
McLaren v. Microsoft Corp, the plaintiff claimed invasion of
privacy when the employer reviewed the employee’s email. The
state appeals court ruled that an employee has no claim for invasion
of privacy and that having a password does not create reasonable
expectation of privacy for
employees. The court also found that since the email system was owned
by the company and existed for the functioning of the job, the emails
were not the property of the employee.
Email Use – Case 2
The rights of the employer were upheld in
Fraser v. Nationwide Insurance Co.
when it was ruled that the employer did not violate the Federal
Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.
The employer retrieved an employee's e-mail sent
via company systems to a competitor company. The unscrupulous employee
intended to compromise the employer’s customer base. Since the
employer had not intercepted the email while it was being sent, the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act was not violated.
The employee had sent the email and it was
received by the competitor company. An employer may intercept emails
at any time including while being sent or received using company
systems as long as it has notified employees that a) they have no
expectation of privacy in the use of
the company email system, b) monitoring of the email system may occur
at any time with or without notice, and c) all emails transferred via
company systems are the property of the employer and may be reviewed
by employer at any time.
The above book excerpt is from:
Firing Computer Professionals
manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"