N.J. Supreme Court backs e-mail privacy on company PCs

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in HR Management,Human Resources

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy when she accesses and uses a web-based e-mail account on company computer equipment, but doesn’t save her password on the computer.

Recent case: While employed by Loving Care Agency, Marina Stengart used a company issued laptop to communicate with her attorneys via a web-based private e-mail account. She never saved her password on the computer.

When Stengart filed a lawsuit against the company, Loving Care discovered these password-protected e-mails and attempted to use them in litigation.

The New Jersey Supreme Court said she had a reasonable expectation of privacy—despite the company’s electronic communications policy that said it could review information on computers. (Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, No. A-16, Supreme Court of New Jersey, 2010)

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