Using employer e-mails waives privilege

The BP oil spill litigation has provided an interesting decision concerning the affect an employer's e-mail policy has on the spousal privilege (and arguably the attorney/client, doctor patient, and religious privilege claims). Communications between an employee and his spouse, also a BP employee, were made through BP e-mail accounts. The employee argued BP permitted personal use of the accounts, third parties could not access the accounts, and the employers notifications (that e-mail was not private) were not sufficient to overcome spousal privilege. Rejecting the employee's argument, the court found, the accounts were not private, they could be monitored by the employer, and they could be subpoenaed. Of course this latter assessment begs the question of privilege.

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