Use and Abuse of Computers

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USE AND ABUSE OF COMPUTERS IN THE WORKPLACE by Bob Gregg Boardman & Clark LLP One South Pinckney Street, 4th Floor P. O. Box 927 Madison, WI 53701-0927 Telephone (608) 283-1751 Our major form of workplace communication is becoming electronic. People do not have faceto-face, oral conversations. Email is taking over. It is fast, efficient—and dangerous. Employees just rip off an email with far less thought or editing than a letter. The e-system has replaced the break room for office gossip, harassment, betting, romantic advances and a myriad of other forms of indiscretion or illegality. Yet, when the employer imposes rules or monitoring, employees resist, or sue, over invasion of personal use of “their” computer.…show more content…
The article does illustrate the issue of electronic discovery. Plaintiff attorneys now acquire reams of “informal” texting and emails and comb through them for anything which might support a case, no matter how “off the cuff” the message may have been. Once in the email “record,” the comment has a life, far more significant than oral stray remarks. So, defense attorneys are now advising a process which protects against that problem, but might also impair the effectiveness of responders. EMPLOYEE USE OR ABUSE Use Whose system is it anyway? The computers were purchased using the employer’s budget. 2 They are labeled as “property of” the company or public agency. but The computer sits on the desk of an individual, who has a personal email address. The Constitution, U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and other state and local laws can provide expectations of privacy and restrictions on “invading” the employees’ usage. and In the public sector, the public owns the system. All government property and systems are for the people and ultimately belong to the people. The public has rights to know what is going on in the government system, with their tax dollars. Anyone can make a “public records request.” Public Records/Freedom of Information Requests Private romance or public scandal? In the case of In re Petition of the Bd. of Commissions of Arapahoe County 95 P.3d 593, 2003 Col. App. Lexis 1151 (Col. Ct. App., 2004), the
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