Can Your Boss Read Your Email?

Donna Ballman


When Harvard professors found out that the school's administration searched employee emails to find out who leaked confidential information to the press, it brought a major employment law issue to the public's attention: Is your email private? Harvard faculty members were outraged, calling the administration's action "creepy," "disgraceful" and "dishonorable." The outrage, however, was sparked by the recognition that these employees were faculty, and should have been notified in advance of the search. Harvard faculty apparently have rights that mere Harvard staff do not.

Where is the outrage on behalf of the students who will likely end up at workplaces that have little or no privacy? Where is the outrage at the fact that anyone's employer can search their private email? Are these professors so sheltered in their ivory towers that they don't realize what's happening to real people in the workplace?