How Private is Employee Email?

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Suppose that an employee is talking about your company on a social networking web site like Facebook or LinkedIn while at work. Or suppose that during a routine update, the employer’s system cached email from the employee that is private in nature. Does the company have a right to examine those emails? Are they private even though the employee is using a work computer?

These might seem like straight forward questions, which appeared to have been resolved in the employer’s favor a long time ago But recent state court decisions, including a ruling in the New Jersey Supreme Court and an appellate decision in California this month, indicate that, where cloud computing and social networking are concerned, the answers are anything but clear.

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