Mazuz: Employer needs permission to read employee e-mails

An earlier court ruling found that employees gave their consent since they know that employers monitor e-mail.

An employer is not permitted to read employees' e-mail, unless they give their free and informed consent, in that employees reasonably have the necessary knowledge to formulate valid consent to an invasion of privacy, says Attorney General Menachem (Meni) Mazuz in an opinion submitted to the National Labor Court. The opinion implies that without the explicit consent of an employee to read his or her e-mail, only under extraordinary circumstances would it be possible to know of this consent.

The National Labor Court yesterday heard an appeal filed by Tali Iskov against a decision that allowed her employer, Panaya Inc., a start-up, to submit as evidence in a dispute between them e-mail correspondence pulled from her personal computer. The original ruling in the case by Tel Aviv District Labor Court Judge Sigal Davidow Motola stated that it was necessary to examine "whether the employee expected privacy for his e-mail, or if he knew, either explicitly or implicitly, that this correspondence could brought to the knowledge of management of the employee or other employees."

Judge Davidow Motola ruled that Iskov should be considered as having consented to the invasion of her privacy by the reading of her e-mail, in part because she knew that the e-mailbox was given to her for work purposes and that the employer from time to time monitored e-mail messages, but nevertheless used the e-mailbox for private correspondence.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on May 29, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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