In defense of your employment lawsuit, your employer will read your e-mails and investigate your Internet presence
As any experienced employment lawyer will tell you, when you file a lawsuit against your former employer, you need to be mentally and emotionally prepared for battle.Your former employer is going to take steps to defend itself, and some of those steps may leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable. For example, if your employer has a properly drafted and promulgated electronic communications policy that authorizes the employer to access the employees’ electronic communications, and the employer has complied with any laws requiring the employer to notify employees about electronic snooping, then you should expect that, upon receiving notice of your claims against it, your employer will immediately scour your computer and all of your e-mails.
Your employer will be looking for evidence related to (a) your claims; (b) any defenses available to the employer (e.g., previously unknown misconduct by you that, on it’s own, would be grounds for termination); and (c) potential counter-claims against you. In addition, you should expect that your employer will begin monitoring all of the incoming and outgoing e-mails of your friends at work, hoping to find e-mail communications between you and your former colleagues that bear directly on your claims. If your employer does not have an enforceable electronic communications policy in place, then your employer may be subject to liability (e.g., for invasion of the right to privacy) if it monitors your electronic communications.
In addition to reading your emails, your employer will conduct a broad internet search (via Google, Yahoo, Bing or similar search engine) to learn as much about you as possible. Much of the information on the internet likely will be irrelevant to your claims. If, however, you have a personal website; a blog; a posting on Craig’s List or similar service; a profile on MySpace, Facebook or similar social networking site; or a résumé posted on Careerbuilder, Monster or similar job placement network, this information may prove useful to the employer as the case proceeds.