Dec 072009
 December 7, 2009  Posted by  Court, Online, U.S., Workplace

Jeff Neuburger writes:

In August, we wrote about the ruling of a New Jersey appellate court in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., in which the court took a very narrow view of the ability of employers to monitor the e-mail communications of employees over its computer networks. In that case, which is now on appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the appellate court held that an employee did not waive her attorney-client privilege with respect to e-mails that she sent to her attorney while using the employer’s computer network, but via her personal Web mail account, despite the existence of a broadly worded communications policy giving the employer the right to access all communications occurring over its network. The appellate court court ruled that even if the employer’s policy applied to the employee (she disputed its applicability), the employer’s right to access to such communications pursuant to that policy was limited by the employer’s “legitimate business interests.” Such interests did not extend, the court concluded, to the employee’s communications with her attorney.

In contrast to the New Jersey court’s narrow view of the applicability of such policies, the district court judge in Alamar Ranch, LLC v. County of Boise, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101866 (D. Idaho Nov. 2, 2009), held that knowledge of employer monitoring of employee communications over its network could be imputed, not only to the employee but to the employee’s attorney as well. As a result, the court held, the attorney-client privilege had been waived with respect to messages sent by the employee to the attorney using her employer-assigned e-mail account, and to messages sent to the employee at her employer e-mail address by the attorney.

Read more on Proskauer Rose Privacy Law Blog.

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