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NSW Unfair Dismissal - Getting Personal Emails from Work Email Account?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Clapton, 26 November 2015.

  1. Clapton

    Clapton Member

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    Hi. My employment was recently terminated and I have lodged an application with Fair Work Australia.

    I was not given any opportunity to access my email account to extract personal email folders. It was a unique industry and without going into detail, I was poached by one employer and we moved to another building, but with the same services provider, providing building access, telephones and IT services amongst other things. Therefore, I took the same email address from my previous position to the next position.

    Within this email account, I had various personal folders, including a mortgage, refinance documents and information, various personal documents and information. There were absolutely no email or internet policies in place. Working 5 days a week, 9 to 5, and expecting this employment to be until retirement (naive in hindsight), it seemed practical to just keep a personal folder in my work email so that I had no need to use personal email while at work, which I very rarely did, and I would be notified of important emails and able to respond in a timely manner, being altered to incoming emails immediately and dealing with them within appropriate timeframes.

    If I had used my personal email address for some of these matters, I would have been out of time due to not seeing them and dealing with them while at work. I had this email address for approximately 7 years, so quite a lot of personal information is contained in this account.

    Is there anything under Employment Law that says I cannot do this? Can I expect to be able to retrieve these important emails which are in no way damaging to my former employer? If so, how would I go about it? I really don't know what my former employer's attitude would be, given that they would probably be aware of the Unfair Dismissal Application I have lodged by this stage.

    Thanks in anticipation
     
  2. Therese

    Therese Well-Known Member

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    Hi Clapton,

    As the email account is a work account if they refuse a request to allow you access to your emails it may be difficult to retrieve them.

    It is my understanding there is nothing under Employment Law preventing you from doing this unless there was a work policy or something in your employment contract.

    However as they did not have a policy you may be able to argue breach of privacy regarding personal information if they are not produced.

    I would suggest contacting Legal Aid, Fair Work Australia or even a en Employment Law expert to find out your options. See Get Connected with the Right Lawyer for You.
     
  3. Clapton

    Clapton Member

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    Thanks, Therese. I guess I can always ask as part of my application to Fair Work. I was aware this was a muddy area but wasn't sure if any laws had been put in place at this stage.

    Thanks, again
     

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