As Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Roger M. Klaphake ruled this past week, “Minnesota courts have not addressed whether an employee can have an expectation of privacy in a company email account, although other jurisdictions have examined this issue. Conclusions are mixed.”
Most employers and certainly all large employers have email policies. These tend to set the ground-rules from the start, giving notice to employees that they should have no expectation of privacy when they use the company computer system.
On the other hand, smaller employers that do not have email policies must take care they do not find themselves vulnerable to lawsuits for invasion of privacy if they decide to collect or intercept employee emails.