Employers and employees are both highly vulnerable to negative consequences which may result from e-mail privacy intrusions. These intrusions may arise internally from co-workers or the employer, or externally from entities associated with the U.S. legal system, such as law enforcement agencies or attorneys, or from hackers. Given potentially differing perceptions regarding e-mail privacy and the problems which may result from privacy intrusions, there is a need to recognize and understand privacy issues associated with e-mail use. In this paper, we first review the U.S. legal system to reveal the surprising lack of e-mail privacy protection currently afforded. Based on this legal review, a framework is presented to identify the potential legal consequences under varying circumstances in the workplace. Finally, example e-mail privacy cases are discussed, within the context of the framework, to illustrate issues associated with e-mail privacy intrusions.
Sipior, Janice and Ward, Burke, "United States Cases of Employee E-Mail Privacy Intrusions: Do You Really Know the Legal Consequences?" (1996). ICIS 1996 Proceedings. 16.