Monday, April 5, 2010

Update your Technology Policy to account for personal, web-based email

Last week I discussed Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, which held that employees had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the personal, password-protected, web-based email account accessed on the company-owned computer. Stengart may not be an Ohio case, but it teaches some important lessons that all employers should take to heart when putting in place a technology or e-communications policy. In light of this case, the following is an update to my prior post, 10 tips for drafting a workplace technology policy, with five more things to consider for your policy:

  1. Warn all employees that the use of all electronic resources is monitored, and that employees have no expectation of privacy in communications transmitted using company-owned resources or over the company network.

  2. Explain to employees that copies of messages sent and received through a personal, web-based email account on a company-owned computer could be stored on that computer.

  3. Inform employees that the has the discretion to review all communications sent or received via company-owned equipment, regardless whether a personal account is used, but subject to laws regarding attorney-client and other privileged communications.

  4. Restrict employees from using of any company technology to communicate with a personal attorney.

  5. Disclose that violations of the policy – including the prohibition on communications with a personal attorney – will be punished by discipline up to and including termination.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or