Wendi Lazar, partner at Outten and Golden, LLP in New York, speaks about the rights of both employers and employees regarding workplace communications via company-owned computers, mobile devices and other digital media.
The Stored Communications Act: in some states, including NY, employers are not allowed to access employee accounts (gmail, social media) even if they are logged in on their work computers. Similarly, employees cannot access employers data in their offices without permission or direction.
Advice to employers: Have clear, written policies that describe in detail what an employee can and cannot do on a workplace computer, and other company-owned devices. Also companies must understand the certain limited privacy rights for employees. Advice to employees: Use your own electronics. Deal with any personal information on personal email, not your work email.