Whose data is it anyway?

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

That’s just not the case. If you use any of your employer’s equipment to prepare a notice, that notice 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 devices (PCs, cell phones, etc.) is part of the employer’s business records and not only available for inspection by authorized employer representatives, but can be found in future court proceedings .

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

Moral of the story: plain and simple – don’t use your employer’s electronic resources for face-to-face communication. When you keep your personal affairs off your employer’s equipment and network, you never have to worry about a newspaper or court case publishing your “private” thoughts.

Even if you’re in business with more than just one or two employees, a new year is a great time to review/update your office, computer and internet usage policies. Read LegalTypist’s article: Year End 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 by local, state and federal government agencies. Existing policies should be reviewed and updated annually by an employment and labor law attorney familiar with your industry.

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