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A company I work for does not remove or delete former employees email accounts/passwords and login credentials they are easily accessible to keep using and in fact are sometimes used still for some support tickets due to new rules on granting access to newer employees without formal training (in another state) which the company doesn't want to do. Do they not have an obligation to delete these accounts and remove them from the pc so the next employee cannot use that person? Can this be under intellectual property for at least the employees name and compelled to remove all trace of it from the company computer uses when the employee severs employment with the company?

closed as off-topic by gnat, scaaahu, Philip Kendall, yochannah, Jenny D Jun 30 '15 at 8:27

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    I wouldn't imagine so. Anything you do on company resources belongs to the company, including email content. – Jane S Jun 30 '15 at 1:30
  • I agree and I never do any personal things on the company email, but I do worry about my name flowing around from someone else just because it's easier than setting up another email account for one reason or another. I think they should go ahead and archive the emails to their archive server, then delete the email account. – Peg Jun 30 '15 at 1:54
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    Unfortunately, what you think they should do matters only if they agree. You could try simply asking them. – keshlam Jun 30 '15 at 2:29
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    The question is a bit confusing: "does not remove former employees emails/passwords"- What exactly are they keeping? The emails? The email account? And how exactly does the company use the email accounts? Do they send mails in the old employees name? And what does this have to do with "granting access to newer employees"`? Is access to some systems tied to a specific email address? – sleske Jun 30 '15 at 7:25
  • I clarified the question albeit I was thinking of intellectual property (my name) incorrectly however see the 2 answers below, they hit the issue on the head. Thank you all - I came here because this company has no HR dept it's still small and ...well I guess learning is all I'll say. – Peg Jul 1 '15 at 1:56
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Can this be under intellectual property for at least the employees name and compelled to remove all trace of it from the company computer uses when the employee severs employment with the company?

It is definitely not intellectual property. IP is something you protect with a patent, a trademark, a service mark, a trade secret.

An employee's email address does not fall under that category; neither does your legal name (you might have a trade name that falls under this; for example "The King of Pop" as Michael Jackson was famously known; but I doubt that applies in this situation).

So what is really at issue here is the right for a company to impersonate a former employee by means of keeping their email address current. This is of course not allowed.

What is perfectly fine and frankly is a common practice, is to keep the email address active for the purposes of business continuity. I have seen variations of this where:

  • The address is kept alive, but an autoresponder is put in place that lets the sender know that the person is no longer at the organization and whom to contact. The original email is also forwarded to the new person.

  • The address is forwarded to a common mailbox which is then distributed among a team. In this scenario the sender is not aware that the addressee is no longer at the organization.

As an employee you cannot compel your company to delete your email address - it is their property (just like the equipment you use at the office); and the contents of these communications are also the property of the company.

Finally, depending on where you work, the company might be obligated by external regulators to keep all employee communication for a period of time after their termination; or they might be compelled to do so for legal (liability) purposes.

  • Thank you - you have the correct scenario and issue. The autoresponder and common mailbox is exactly what I would like to see implemented. I knew anything done belongs to a company - no problem with that at all - its the using the former employee merely because it was easier that is my "peeve". I am going to suggest and try to push them to put this better practice in place whilst still there then I will feel better for when I am not. – Peg Jul 1 '15 at 1:22
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Do they not have an obligation to delete these accounts and remove them from the pc so the next employee cannot use that person?

No, they are not obligated to do anything. They are perfectly allowed to keep all mails as well as keep the mailbox open for reception.

However, if the company sends mail that impersonates a former employee, they could possible be liable for fraud or forgery. Your should contact the company and ask them to stop using your name, and if that does not work your best bet is probably to contact a lawyer.

  • Thankyou - both you and the one below have hit it on the exact issue. – Peg Jul 1 '15 at 1:14

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