Whose data?

Unfortunately, many employees believe that by logging into a private email account or using third-party instant messaging software, their communications somehow bypass their employer’s systems and are considered “personal.”

Such is simply not the case. If you use any part of your employer’s equipment to produce a communication, that communication may become part of your employer’s business records.

This means that, for lack of a better word, any “traffic” on a company’s network or equipment (PCs, cell phones, etc.) are part of the employer’s business records and can’t just be reviewed by authorized representatives of the employer, but be detectable in future lawsuits.

Says David Simon, Esq. of We Comply: “Most employees don’t realize that virtually everything they do on their work computers is filed within the company and could end up in tomorrow’s headlines or in the next few weeks.” court records next year”.

Moral of the story: plain and simple: do not use your employer’s electronic resources for personal communications. By keeping your personal business off your employer’s computer and network, you never have to worry about a newspaper or court case printing your “private” thoughts.

Also, if you are in business with more than one or two employees, a new year is a good time to review/update your office, computer, and Internet usage policies. Check out the LegalTypist article: End of Year Technology Assessment [http://ezinearticles.com/?Year-End-Technology-Assessment-(YETA)&id=378749].

Once an employer reaches a certain number of employees, they are subject to increased regulatory obligations through local, state, and federal government agencies. Policies that already exist should be reviewed and updated annually by a local employment and labor law attorney familiar with your industry.

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