Background info: I am leaving my current job in the next couple of weeks. (If you want to know why just check my other questions.) Germany, Junior Developer
Yesterday I got a list of all the things I need to return before I leave. I didn't think too much of it at first. It had boxes to check what I still have and need to return and had a place for my signature at the bottom. But as soon as I started reading the fine print my inner alarm went of. It states (translated from german):
"I confirm that (company) is allowed to use my mail account unrestricted. This includes viewing all mails and using all messages for business Correspondence"
Original: "Ferner bestätige ich, dass (der Betrieb) ab sofort uneingeschränkt berechtigt ist, meinen E-Mail-Account zu nutzen. Dies beinhaltet diesen durchzusehen und die dort vorhandenen Nachrichten uneingeschränkt als geschäftliche Korrespondenz verwenden zu können. "
(I added the german original for context, because my english skills are far from perfect, maybe someone can translate it in a better way)
Now this seems odd to me for a couple of reasons. First of all: Why would this be on this list? It seems to me that they wanted me to sign it without thinking about it. Like: "Here I gave you all my stuff and we both sign it". The HR Person didn't tell me to look at the fine print either. She just said it is for the physical stuff I have from the company. Second of all: Why do I need to sign this stuff anyway? Wouldn't it be the responsibility for THEM to sign it after I returned my stuff? So I have proof I gave the stuff back?
Question: Is this common practice in Germany, or anywhere for that matter? Should I sign this thing at all? What do I have to lose, or to gain?
Side Note: There are no private mails on there I am worried about, but there are some business mails that are very confidential and should stay in the IT department.
I usually agree with the most upvoted answer, but this time I decided differently. I did what the accepted answer recommended, which is not signing anything. Until now, almost 2 month later, I have not received any message claiming I did something stupid. If they have the legal right anyway, there is no need for me to sign it, and that was exactly what I told the nice HR lady who helped me with my offboarding process. She agreed and even signed a paper for me I set up to prove I returned everything. Alltogether I didn't sign anything when leaving. And I don't regret it. My old company might have looked a little surprised by this, but they didn't push me to sign it afterwards.
Thank you for all your answers.