E-mails between a client and attorney are no longer considered privileged and confidential if the client writes the messages from a work e-mail account, a California court of appeals has ruled.
The 3-0 decision Thursday by the Sacramento Third Appellate District means that if you intend to sue your employer, don’t discuss the suit with an attorney using company e-mail. The company has a right to access it and use it against you in a court.
“… [T]he e-mails sent via company computer under the circumstances of this case were akin to consulting her lawyer in her employer’s conference room, in a loud voice, with the door open, so that any reasonable person would expect that their discussion of her complaints about her employer would be overheard,” (.pdf) the court wrote.
Case law on electronic privacy in the workplace is slowly evolving, and not always for the best.