I read that the company can monitor an email account after the person
leaves for so many months because of business continuity. So how legal
is reusing the email account after the person leaves their job?
In general, email accounts at any company are not like a player’s number on a baseball team; it doesn’t get retired after you leave.
Your email address at any company is not—and never—your email address ever for any reason. The company can do whatever they want with that email address and you have 100% no say in the matter.
That said, you imply you still have access to that email account by stating this:
It was used already for FedEx.
How would you know they are using your email for FedEx? Do you still have the account on a phone or computer you personally own? If you are still using/accessing that email address, you should stop immediately. If you continue to access that account in any way for any reason after you leave you open yourself up to legal liability.
And on the offhand chance you have been using that company email for personal use, you should be unwind that as much as possible. Contact people you know and let them know you cannot be contacted at that address any more and if you have any accounts on websites connected to that email, change that email address immediately.
That said, if the company somehow decides to use that account address to impersonate you for some reason, that would then open up the company to legal liability. The problem there is how can you prove—or even suspect—something like that? It’s not easy to prove to say the least, and the practical reality is most people don’t want to impersonate other people via email and most companies don’t have the time or need to do so. So that is an edge case; so don’t really worry about it but it’s just something to keep in mind.
Past any of that the fact you still have access to that account is disconcerting. Most companies do the following when an employee leaves:
- Disable the account by changing the password to something only the I.T. department knows.
- They set a vacation/auto-reply message stating that the employee at that email address and any further business might need to be redirected to this other staffer at this other email address or phone number.
- Leave the account dormant until a need arises for it to be reused. Such as if a new employee with the same name comes onboard and such. In many cases email accounts will just sit dormant and unused collecting mails until the system administrator decides to delete or purge the account.
So honestly if you still have access to the account, you might want to not only remove the account from your email programs but also—as a professional courtesy—contact someone at the company and give them a heads up about it. Be 100% honest that you still had access but don’t need it anymore and state something like, “I thought someone would have locked the account or at least changed the password after I left?” Be clear and transparent about this.