Think Twice Before Sending E-mail At Work

Before clicking send on that personal e-mail message from might want to think twice. 

Those e-mails can be made public because they are stored on a company server and they could come back to haunt you. Like in the case of Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal who is currently under investigation by the Texas Attorney General's office for sending sexually and  racially charged electronic mail.

A local labor attorney Vicki Wilmarth says companies aren't breaking any laws by retaining the information.

"Employees should really have no expectation of privacy on the company email account. It's company equipment."

Wilmarth says companies maintain that information for legal reasons and it's an issue that pops during litigation.

"We've seen a number of circumstances in which an employee has written a pornographic e-mail, obscenities, discrimination type e-mails that nobody should be using a company in a company account." 
Right now Wilmarth says the law requires full disclosure and any type of electronic mail is fair game in the court of law.

So most companies discourage them. 

"During new hire training all employees are explained our policy of emailing at work using work equipment. We store the e-mail for legal reasons as well as audit reasons. We also are able to monitor e-mails to ensure they are handled in a professional manner." Amarillo Bank Customer Service Manager Kim Phelan said.

Wilmarth says the most common cases where e-mails come out are sexual harassment. 

"Very, very frequently where the harasser has sent suggestive e-mails to the person he or she is harassing."
So she recommends to employers to post a 'no personal e-mail' policy in the workplace.  A policy that jeff ray says was explained to him and one that he's adopte at Hilb, Rogal & Hobbs.

"That's what our policy says and we don't do it, and quite frankly we don't need people knowing our personal business."
Some companies take it a step further by blocking access to sites like yahoo and hotmail..even instant messaging. Most importantly don't send an e-mail you don't want everyone to see.