I was put on unpaid 2 week leave with no prior problems in my work after I changed a name on a blog page temporarily without permission. I changed the name just to see if the name was taken by someone else and changed it back to the original shortly there after. I wrote an email asking if we could change the name and gave some options of what was available. This was after some space was given for a new blogger and the name was no longer appropriate for the space. I thought of it as something minor, but was almost fired for it. Then I went into my email because there were a lot of loose ends and noticed the whole email correspondence had been erased and a bunch of my other emails had been emailed to my boss.The emails were quite crazy by the way. Then I was blocked out of my email without any notice given. I work online. I called one of the women in charge and she yelled at me and told me some stuff they said I had done in the past that was never communicated to me and was all stacked up against me. I am confused here, is this ok for an employer to do? I have worked for them for three years with no problems up until now.

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    Legal questions are off-topic, situation-specific advice is off-topic. – Lilienthal Sep 28 '16 at 8:10
  • Hi, and welcome to workplace.SE! Your situation sounds difficult, I hope you find a solution. However, this site is for focussed, specific questions. Your question is rather broad and a bit rambling, therefore it was put on hold. To have it re-opened, please edit to clearly explain your situation, and what exactly you want to achieve. Asking "is this ok" is impossible to answer, because it is a question of opinion. Instead, ask something practical ("how should I approach my boss", "how can I change my work situation to X" etc.). – sleske Sep 28 '16 at 9:05

It's their email, not yours, they can do whatever they want with it in practical terms. You may have some comeback if they're impersonating you, but that's about it.

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  • Depending on your country this is dangerously wrong. – Shaeldon Sep 28 '16 at 6:56
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    Dangerously wrong? I highly doubt deleting e-mails can be described as such. – Nelson Sep 28 '16 at 7:16
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    @Shaeldon what country would that be? – Kilisi Sep 28 '16 at 7:49
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    @Kilisi they are probably thinking of Germany, where there are privacy laws in place in the work place - but even those privacy laws DO NOT extend to when the employee is under specific investigation and the accounts are company owned. The email is owned by the company, and they can do what they want with it in practical terms. – Moo Sep 28 '16 at 9:26
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    Deleting emails (without reading) isn't really a privacy violation. It may be inconvenient, but not a violation of privacy. – gnasher729 Sep 28 '16 at 9:58

In general, if the email is on the corporate email system, then it is their email, and they do have legitimate access to it.

However, at least in the UK, and probably much of Europe, if you can establish that you had a reasonable right to privacy on your email (e.g. Company allowed personal use), then they have to be able to establish a good business reason for why they needed to go through your email history in detail.

If you can establish that they accessed a non work owned system that for your convenience was set up on your work computer, such as gmail, Skype etc, then they have overstepped the mark. That is a criminal offence and they should be paying you a generous settlement.

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