Dec 142009
 December 14, 2009  Posted by  Court, Workplace

This editorial appears in today’s Star-Ledger:

The state Supreme Court has an opportunity to give a New Jersey employer a virtual smackdown and protect workers’ privacy. The court will decide whether an employee who corresponded with her lawyer through a personal e-mail account on a company-owned laptop was protected by attorney-client privilege.

Loving Care Agency accessed e-mails between nursing director Marina Stengart and her attorney, Peter Frazza, after she filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and ethnic discrimination. At issue: Does the company’s policy, which permits digging through employees’ personal e-mails, carry more weight than attorney-client privilege?

Loving Care allowed employees to use its computers for personal e-mail, but with the warning that “such communications are not to be considered private.” Stengart used a web-based e-mail provider with a password, not the company’s e-mail. She said she had an expectation of privacy, but Loving Care argued that, as an executive, she should have known better.


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