Favorable Ruling for California Employers — Employers, However, Must Ensure Their Computer Use and Electronic Communications Policies Are Up-to-Date

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From the employers’ perspective, favorable court of appeal rulings are relatively rare, but the California Court of Appeal recently issued such a ruling in Holmes v. Petrovich Development Company, LLC, et al. 2011 WL 117230 (Jan. 13, 2011) regarding employee privacy rights with respect to the use of the employer’s computer and e-mail systems.

In Holmes v. Petrovich Development Company, the court found that an employee’s exchange of e-mail communications with her attorney were not confidential because (1) the e-mails were sent from her company work computer, and (2) the company maintained a policy (which the employee was aware of and acknowledged) that e-mails from company computers were not private communications and could be monitored and reviewed by the company.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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