Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

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Latest post 08-23-2011 11:44 PM by LG81. 16 replies.
  • 08-22-2011 4:31 PM

    • dmm1978
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    Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    It recently came to my attention that my boss (whom I share an office with) had stolen my personal email password and had been reading my personal emails for about a month.  He has also told me numerous times in the past that he had feelings for me (while he was married).  I shrugged that off because I have a really great job that I have worked over 10 years to acheive.  Others in my field have more education but I have just worked my way up the ladder to get to my current title/pay level. What I do is very esoteric and there are not many other places near my house that I could find similar job.  It would also be difficult given my lack of education (I have a bacehlor's degree, most in my field have a masters.)  After I caught him reading my emails, I tried to just continue to come to work and only talk to him as needed.  But we share an office and it is just very uncomfortable.  I do not think I can go back into work.  Was it illegal for him to access my personal email?  What should I do?

  • 08-22-2011 4:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    If your "personal e-mail" is on the employer's equipment and using their network, it is not personal. The employer has the right to access your e-mail. If you have problems with any comments report it to HR.

  • 08-22-2011 4:36 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    dmm1978:
    It recently came to my attention that my boss (whom I share an office with) had stolen my personal email password and had been reading my personal emails for about a month.

    Was he reading them on your company PC that you had been using to access your PERSONAL email?  If the answer is yes, you cannot expect any privacy.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 08-22-2011 4:46 PM In reply to

    • dmm1978
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    makes sense, thank you

  • 08-22-2011 4:47 PM In reply to

    • dmm1978
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    what if he had also been reading them at his house on his personal computer? (he got the password off of a post it on my desk, if it matters)

  • 08-22-2011 4:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    He accessed business e-mail from his home computer - that changes nothing.

    The problem is that you assumed you had a right to privacy re: your work e-mail. You do not.

  • 08-22-2011 4:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    if you accessed your personal email on your company computer, then I think you kind of left that door open.  

    If he cared to be bothered to look, then he did.  You left him with the opportunity.

    NEVER EVER access personal information on a company computer!

    You want to keep it all separate.  Time and time again, people just merge it all together, and it comes back to bite them in the behind.

    Change your password for starters, and stop accessing your personal email at work on their computer.

    And by the way, if you talk on the company phone, you have no idea, but they could also being recording that as well.

    Personally, if I were you, I would change my password, I would not look at my email on company time, and just keep on moving forward with my job.

    good luck!

     

     

  • 08-23-2011 1:49 AM In reply to

    • LG81
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    I agree with the others that anything you do on company time or with company equipment is fair game for your employer to review.  I do emphasize "or."  E.g., if you have a company laptop that you take home to do work on during nonscheduled hours, anything you do on that laptop is also subject.  If you were to take a break from working at home after hours to check your personal email or shop online or anything else, that is still not private.

    dmm1978:
    (he got the password off of a post it on my desk, if it matters)

    Can I make a suggestion?  You may want to consider using a password keeper if you have so many logins that it's difficult to remember them all.  I have a password keeper on my phone.  It's easy to remember all of the logins and passwords for sites often used, but in my last job there were several sites that I only needed to use once a year (such as electronic 5500 sign-offs).  I've found it handy.  If you look for such an app, do be careful to evaluate various products before choosing one.  (Of course, it's also always a good idea to use the security features for your phone itself.)

    Leaving a post-it with login information is a very bad idea.  Your boss definitely has the right to look at anything on your desk.  He could have found the post-it for very valid reasons, such as needing to go to your desk to find a file when you were away or whatever.  However, post-its can easily fall into the wrong hands (janitors, snoopers, etc.).

  • 08-23-2011 10:43 AM In reply to

    • Cica
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    dmm1978:
    He has also told me numerous times in the past that he had feelings for me (while he was married).  I shrugged that off because I have a really great job that I have worked over 10 years to acheive.

    This portion of your subject title pretty much dissipated into oblivion.

    If he still discusses his feelings for you with you, you really might consider discussing it with HR.  If it has totally stopped, with no change in work relationship or atmosphere, then SH is totally irrelevant to present or future complaints.

     

     

  • 08-23-2011 12:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    If you want to access email or other personal stuff during work hours, get yourself a smart phone. 

    In the meantime, start keeping a log of the boss's questionable actions.

  • 08-23-2011 3:23 PM In reply to

    • dmm1978
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    Well, I really appreciate everyone's comments and this certainly has been a learning experience.  I have a few more questions.  I certainly understand I can expect no privacy on my work computer and I definitely did not as it relates to work email, but I was pretty shocked to learn about the personal email.  Would it be different if this was just a co-worker?

    Also, what if (and since this incident I no longer do this but just curious) I left my purse at my desk with my phone in it? Could he go through my purse?  My phone is a personal phone, not a company issued phone. 

    I discovered this a.m., he used an admin password to access my machine while I was out and I am beginnning to think he has consulted lawyers because he keeps trying to email me apologizing but he is very clever about how he phrases it. 

  • 08-23-2011 4:25 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    dmm1978:

    I discovered this a.m., he used an admin password to access my machine while I was out and I am beginnning to think he has consulted lawyers because he keeps trying to email me apologizing but he is very clever about how he phrases it. 

    If he has the admin password(s) then it follows that he has the knowledge and the right to view whatever he wants on the company PC(s).  How big is the company?  Do you have an IT department (just curious)?

    What is he trying to apologize for....reading email or his actions towards you?

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 08-23-2011 4:25 PM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    dmm1978:

    I discovered this a.m., he used an admin password to access my machine while I was out and I am beginnning to think he has consulted lawyers because he keeps trying to email me apologizing but he is very clever about how he phrases it. 

    If he has the admin password(s) then it follows that he has the knowledge and the right to view whatever he wants on the company PC(s).  How big is the company?  Do you have an IT department (just curious)?

    What is he trying to apologize for....reading email or his actions towards you?

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 08-23-2011 4:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    Anything on your work computer is fair game. The company owns the computer, the software and the network it is hooked into. There is no expectatino of privacy.

    Your personal cell phone, in your closed purse is a completely different animal.

    As for the SH, as long as the behavior has ended tehre is no longer a legal issue.

  • 08-23-2011 6:10 PM In reply to

    • dmm1978
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    Re: Sexual Harassment and Invasion of Privacy

    Yes, we have an IT Dept.  It is a small firm, about 40 people.  He was trying to explain his side.  But he also called me a bunch of profane names in the process and explained that he just looked at my email because he thought I might be quitting and he was looking for "answers".  I thought that getting caught reading my emails had embarassed him enough that he would not try to access my work computer anymore, but clearly I was wrong.  I really just want to know how to move forward as we work on a small team together and even though perhaps he has done nothing wrong legally, I am very upset. I think that's an issue for a psychology forum though.  :) 

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