Are Employees

Are Employees - Chapter 2 Until last week, most employers...

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Chapter 2 Until last week, most employers believed that they had the right to review -- and in fact owned -- any electronic information stored on company computers. In a recent decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court carved out an exception to this rule. When an employee exchanges emails with her attorney through a personal web-based email account using a company computer, that email is attorney-client privileged even though the computer may automatically create a viewable copy of the email's text in temporary internet files on the company computer. In addition to ratifying, once again, the sanctity courts grant to the attorney-client privilege, the case highlights the importance of well-drafted company policies to enforce workplace rules and protect employer rights. Although the precedent applies only in New Jersey, the decision is significant for all employers. Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc. The Facts Of The Case Marina Stengart worked for Loving Care Agency, Inc., which provides home-care nursing and health services. Stengart worked as the Executive Director of Nursing at Loving Care and was provided with a laptop computer to conduct company business. The company's policy prohibited most personal use of company-owned email and advised employees that the use of the company's computer system was not to be considered private. During her employment, Stengart communicated with her attorney several times about her work situation. She used her web-based, personal-password-protected Yahoo email account, but on a company-provided laptop computer. Unbeknownst to Stengart, there was software that automatically made a copy of the web pages she viewed (including the emails with her lawyer), which were saved on the computer's hard drive in a folder of temporary Internet files. Stengart's employment ended and she returned the laptop. Stengart then sued Loving Care for various claims arising out of her employment, including harassment, discrimination and retaliation. During the course of discovery in Stengart's case, Loving Care and its lawyers reviewed the company's laptop computer used by Stengart and discovered emails between Stengart and her lawyer.
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2012 for the course 620 300 taught by Professor Gordon during the Fall '10 term at Rutgers.

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Are Employees - Chapter 2 Until last week, most employers...

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