Does Work Really Monitor My E-mails?

QUESTION:

October 23, 2009 by Sparktalk

Dear Experts,

I use my work e-mail to exchange messages with my friends. It helps keep me entertained on those ‘long’ days at work. Please note none of these friends work at the same company I do.

I’m very careful with the content I include in these e-mails but sometimes my friends will say something inappropriate or swear. Can I get in trouble for this? I’ve heard people say my work probably monitors every message that comes through to me via Outlook.

I’d use my personal e-mail account but it’s a pain to keep a browser open all day and I don’t want to scramble to close the window every time someone walks in my cubicle.

ANSWER:

Use your personal email account from your personal computer or phone (period). Your employer absolutely can monitor your emails.  Depending on the company their approach might vary:

Many use software to route emails that meet certain criteria to be rejected or reviewed.  Usually profanity, industrial espionage indicators, and the like are targeted.

Some companies go beyond this and periodically review email account content.

A few pay someone to review staff emails on a regular basis.

Do you want to risk you or your friends tripping a wire you are not aware of and having a bombshell like “You are fired.” Dropped in your lap?

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About Mary Sherwood Sevinsky

Masters-prepared Certified Disability Management Specialist. Over eighteen years experience in vocational assessment, counseling, and testimony, primarily in rehabilitation services.
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