Avoid Work Computer Abuse Claims
For years, I have been urging employees to resist using their work laptops for personal use – even if the company permits such use. Most employers have some type of monitoring in place on all their equipment and devices, and if you are signed in to your personal email when the company server is doing a backup, your personal email contents could be captured – and backed up on the company’s servers. Different state laws provide varying levels of protection for employees, and generally recognize an employer’s rights to the content on its equipment and created during work hours.
But employers must also take steps to protect laptops from misuse and warn employees up-front about what is and isn't acceptable. When an employee boots up and signs on, a warning screen should pop up that tells the employee that whatever they type on the PC belongs to the employer and that there is no right to privacy, if in fact that is the case.
Bottom line: Fight that urge to commingle personal information on work PCs -- don't put anything on work equipment or e-mail that you don't want your boss to read!