E-Mails Sent From Employee’s Work Computer May Not Be Employer’s Property

October 08, 2009
The proliferation of electronic media allows employees to communicate in and about the workplace more than ever before, raising difficult issues for employers regarding their rights to access or take action as a result of employees’ electronic communications. In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division recently held that several e-mails that an employee sent her attorney using a company-issued laptop from her personal web-based e-mail account were not the property of the employer despite a company policy informing employees that all materials on company computers belonged to the company. This update examines the court’s ruling and the implications it may have on employers’ electronic communications policies.