Is it fair that an employer can read your personal emails? This is the question on many people’s lips after the European Court of Human Rights rejected an employees claims for unfair dismissal because he was using the company email account for personal use. You might think that this is not relevant to you as the company was based in Romania. Think again.
Company’s Email/Computer Usage policy usually have a line to the effect that you can make limited use of your work account for personal emails. The key word is ‘limited’. Moreover there is probably a line about the employer’s right to monitor your email and internet usage if they have reasonable reason to do so. Most of us will have signed such a policy at some point in our life so unless you can prove that you neither saw the policy nor signed it, you probably don’t have a leg to stand on. Certainly judging by my archives which are littered with cases like these, rarely does the employee win. And why should they.
Why do we think we can use precious company resources for our own use. In effect we are stealing the company’s bandwidth and storage. It’s akin to going to the stationary cupboard and taking pens and paper to take home for personal use.
Perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves that what we write on the company email belongs to the company.Check your email etiquette and and make sure you write email PEARLS not lead balloons which will land you in court.
P – PROPERLY laid out
E – Written in plain ENGLISH
A – Have an ACCURATE subject line
R– RELATE to work/business
L – LESS that half a screen
S – About a SINGLE topic
Yes, use the company email for emergencies, but do so sparingly. Otherwise as Banksy said ‘that invisibility is a superpower’. Keep you social emails to your personal devices and email accounts.