Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Employer Surveillance of Employee E-mail: Global Differences

Personal email is ubiquitous in offices around the world, and this personal e-mail can be of concern to an organization for many reasons. One issue not often discussed is the difference in the laws governing e-mail surveillance around the globe. Due to the increasing globalization of the workplace, it's critical that managers understand and respect the laws in those countries where the organization operates. Failure to do so could result in the inappropriate surveillance and handling of e-mail, along with unfortunate consequences for the firm. One possible solution to the differences in laws governing e-mail surveillance is for the company to recognize globally a minimum level of personal email privacy protection equal to the most expansive protection accorded to personal e-mail in all of the countries in which it operates, and to operationally respect this level of privacy except in clearly defined and limited situations.