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E-mailers Rights

May 25, 2001

Philadelphia State Senator Vince Fumo wants employers to disclose that they are monitoring your e-mail.

People are using e-mail more frequently, and Senator Fumo says workplace e-mail, like the telephone, has become a socially acceptable form of communicating:

"We think people have the right to be notified, if they're being monitored."

Fumo says while businesses have the right to examine messages sent on their equipment, they should notify workers in writing that they are doing so:

"Apparently 80-percent of the businesses today are monitoring e-mail."

That's up from 35-percent in 1997. E-mail policy expert Ken Segarnick of United Messaging of West Chester helped draft the legislation:

"E-mail in the workplace is in the embryotic stage. It's ubiquitous nature is new, also."

He says they're trying to strike a balance between employer and employee rights.

Under Fumo's legislation, without such notification, workers would have the legal right to presume that their messages are private.


by KYW's Steve Tawa


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