The usefulness of such technologies is widely known. Likewise, misuse of communication technologies can just as easily waste company time and resources as a result of employees spending too much time on personal e-mail messages; taking part in extensive "chat room" dialogues; misappropriating and disseminating company trade secrets; improperly posting company information on bulletin boards; copying and distributing intellectual property without authorization; and sending or downloading inappropriate, sexually hostile or harassing messages or graphic pictures which can expose companies to liability.
By establishing policies stating the company's expectations regarding e-mail and Internet access and use, employers can prevent misunderstandings and possible claims before they develop.
- Whether employers have a right to monitor e-mail and Internet use by employees;
- The status of federal and state law on employee privacy rights and e-mail;
- How employee access to the Internet can also lead to potential employer liability;
- The increasing use of e-mail messages as evidence in litigation;
- Steps which should be taken by every employer.