employer read my emails

(22 Posts)
Love2014 Fri 04-Mar-16 17:37:02

Hi I have been off work since weds with stress, I work at a high pressure company in a demanding role. I found out just before xmas at our first scan that our baby had stopped developing, I was very upset but didn't feel like I could have anytime off work. My manager is not very understanding and very demanding, I know that by the way she talks about the team behind there back to me if they are off. Anyway I only had a couple of afternoons off the equivalent of a day. I thought I would be okay if I keep busy but I struggled massively with the miscarriage and the demands of work. They were not very supportive and have never asked just the question ' how am I ?' anyway I went off with stress this week,and handed in my notice that same day I had had enough. I didn't plan to be off for 3 days but it has taken me a couple of days to feel right, I definitely know in my own mind I don't want to work there anymore. I was in touch with my boss everyday however and wanted her to understand how I felt. I logged on to my emails today as I was feeling better and thought I would do some work on my laptop and go back to work on Monday. I emailed my manager to let her know the plan in terms of my day. then an hour later it was pretty obvious that my boss or someone in the team had accessed my work emails. They had added a 'rule' to a subfolder to divert the emails in there to there folder, so I know longer had access. I contacted my manager but she denied it and sent her a screen shot, she then stopped denying it and didn't comment. I work for a technology company so I know they can access emails easily, but I don't have a works contract or policy advising that they will do something like that. She also catergorically denied doing it which is false. I feel like I cant trust my boss and don't want to work my notice, but I really need some objective advice please

sooperdooper Fri 04-Mar-16 17:40:42

Sorry you're having a rough time, hope things get better for you

Sounds odd but I always thought that any place if work has the right to access emails sent on their system if they have reason to

Are you sure it isn't just a tech issue? Have you spoken to your IT support?

ImperialBlether Fri 04-Mar-16 17:44:27

I'm so sorry you've been ill and lost your baby. Your work situation sounds horrendous. I think, though, that the manager is allowed to redirect mail to her email address if you're absent - I think that's pretty standard. It's different from her going through and reading all your old emails.

I hope you feel better soon and find a job you enjoy, too.

flowers

Redroses11 Fri 04-Mar-16 17:45:04

Work will own your work emails I'm afraid.

Redroses11 Fri 04-Mar-16 17:46:31

If you're not up to going back there to work out your notice, visit your GP and see whether you are fit to work or not. I'm guessing not. And I'm very sorry for your loss.

Quietwhenreading Fri 04-Mar-16 17:51:16

I'm very sorry you have had such a difficult time.

However the company owns your email. In a tech company particularly.

I'm not really sure why you see this as a breach of trust? They're just work emails, I assume that you don't use your work account for anything personal.

OliviaStabler Fri 04-Mar-16 17:55:10

So sorry for what you are going through flowers

In my experience most employers have it somewhere in the T&C's that they can access work email accounts and do whatever they like really. I'd just go in, work your notice and find a nicer place to work.

Good luck.

lorelei9 Fri 04-Mar-16 18:00:26

They have the right to do this
I'm puzzled that your manager denied it though?

Best wishes to you flowers

MidnightVelvetthe5th Fri 04-Mar-16 18:00:27

So sorry to hear this OP flowers

Are you sure its you manager doing it, could someone else have requested the rule added?

DaphneWhitethigh Fri 04-Mar-16 18:05:41

I'm so sorry for your loss and sorry that your work have been so unsympathetic generally - they sound like bastards.

However if one of my reports was off sick and I didn't know when they would return then I might well divert their email to someone else to make sure anything important was dealt with - it seems a perfectly reasonable course of action.

I recently inherited a departing colleague's email account that contained hundreds of personal emails in with the main inbox, including (judging from the very brief look I took while I was sorting them and trashing the personal ones) what looked like rows with his girlfriend! Since then I have explicitly told anyone who's leaving who I actually like and trust that they should go through their email and "delete any nude photos".

louisejxxx Fri 04-Mar-16 18:11:21

So sorry for your loss op.

From the thread title I was expecting this to be about your personal emails rather than work ones. If you have been off sick then I think it stands to reason that they may need to access your emails...although it would have been courteous for them to mention it to you I must admit.

flowery Fri 04-Mar-16 18:18:20

Sorry to hear you've had a bad time.

However I'm unclear why you think there's a problem with your manager/a delegated person accessing the work emails of someone who is off sick. This is entirely normal and acceptable, to make sure things don't get missed etc

I agree with a previous poster that the strange thing is that your manager denied it, although if you asked her in a 'this is unacceptable' accusatory manner perhaps her response was a knee-jerk reaction to that.

She should have said of course your emails have been accessed, but some people (wrongly) react to being accused of doing something wrong by denying it rather than standing up for a perfectly reasonable decision they have made.

Love2014 Fri 04-Mar-16 18:22:37

Hi yes appreciate that they may access my emails and view them. thats why i asked her if they had, because they had also attempted to log in to an online system using my details and done it that many time (14) it needed to be re-set, again they didnt tell me. I told my manager that an important meeting was happening this afternoon and I would still attend but needed to do some work prior to the meeting to prepare. She had been hassling me whilst i have been off to do this work even though I was off with stress. I emailed my manager early this morning to confirm that I would still attend. When I went into the sub folder to prepare, the emails had all been removed and a rule had been applied to divert them elsewhere. I challenged my manager and said I cannot do this work now, even though it was an important meeting because I no longer had access to the emails. She denied that she had done it and went on to accuse members of the team. I had an email from the external support team that my password had been hacked into 14 times which I sent to her and I took a screen shot of the rule, again she denied it. But was insisting I still do the work required and attend the meeting. I told her I was at a loss in terms of how this would be possible now and advised her the work that was required and sent her the invite so she had contact information of the organisers. She still continued to chase me and I went back again and said I couldnt do it properly without that information, but I dont think she wanted to return the emails, as it would be admiting that she had lied. I would have prefered she had been honest, but also I dont understand why they remotely took the emails when I was online and in contact from 7am this morning and would have sent them anything they need. In regard T&C they havent even given their staff contracts there is no policy for internet use. Its a start up company thats been running for 3 years, they have done very well over that time, but at the expense of their team. I dont think they thought I would be able to see what they had done. I just dont feel like I trust them, I dont like working for them, they are very negative towards their staff and dont feel happy being there.

Love2014 Fri 04-Mar-16 18:31:04

The emails were there this morning when I logged on at 7am, I was emailing my manager about different things in and amongst that, all okay. I was feeling better and felt I could get through my notice working there. Then at around 9am I went back into the subfolder and they had disappeared and a rule had been applied. I just dont understand, why they couldnt pick up the phone and speak to me and send me an email and ask me for the information or set up a meeting in fact. I have tried to call my manager a couple of times whilst off, and all I have got is her voicemail.

flowery Fri 04-Mar-16 18:31:21

"I don't like working for them, they are very negative towards their staff and don't feel happy being there"

But as you've resigned, is this really a big issue? You'll be gone in a few weeks anyway. Is it really worth worrying about in the scheme of things?

Love2014 Fri 04-Mar-16 18:49:21

yeah thats true thanks Flowery! your right its not..

EBearhug Fri 04-Mar-16 22:50:40

I agree that if you've resigned, then who cares?

However - there's a big difference between a manager going to IT and asking for mails to be diverted because a member of staff has a long term absence, and hacking into their account and setting up rules to divert the mails. The latter would be a sackable offence with us, even if they might be allowed to have access to the mails if they had gone through official channels. Sharing of passwords can also be a sackable offence, because it means you can't trace who is really doing the work, and people might get access they wouldn't have under their own account and aren't authorised for.

If it were me, I'd revoke the rules, change my password, and drop IT a line to inform them that someone had had unauthorised access to my account. But then my job role involves enforcing IT security.

flowery Sat 05-Mar-16 10:12:03

"there's a big difference between a manager going to IT and asking for mails to be diverted because a member of staff has a long term absence, and hacking into their account and setting up rules to divert the mails."

You are right if course, there is a difference but in a very small business as this is, with no internet use policy or similar, or any internal IT support, that difference isn't likely to be appreciated, understood or thought important by the business owner. And I think the OP was generally more concerned about the principle of her emails being accessed rather than how it was done.

EBearhug Sat 05-Mar-16 11:28:45

Yes, true about the company size. I would be more pissed off about being lied to than anything else, if it were me.

Love2014 Mon 07-Mar-16 07:52:36

I do feel aggrieved that they felt the need to hack into my account when even though I was technically off work I had already been doing work that day for the previous few hours and even emailed my manager about other issues. I'm at a sticking point now over this, my manager is saying she still wants me to do the important work that needs to be completed in next couple of days. However I need the emails to do this, but she is saying that no one has accessed my account. However she wants me to set up another meeting to present work to an external company that I can't do without the the information. I told her this on Friday. I just feel really even though I'm returning to work today, I'm stressed its like another issue to be anxious about now an awkward conversation I have to have with her and how am I supposed to do this task ? I said to her it was fine initially if they had taken them but I would have sent them to her if she needed them to that degree I had been in touch with her everyday remember and tried to call her but all I got was voicemail. I have always done very well at work, I'm a conscientious person and feel a bit upset in the circumstances that it has come to this that's why I'm leaving because I feel suffocated. I don't feel like I trust them at all. I don't feel happy with the action they have taken it seems very strange to me that they would do that in the circumstances and then to categorically deny it on email, that was until I sent her the screen dump of what I could see showing that a rule had been applied to revert to 'parent policy' on the account. Then she stopped commenting on it and just asked if I can do the work anyway. Not looking forward to going in today at all I just don't want them to have a go at me anymore. Thanks for all your advice

Love2014 Mon 07-Mar-16 08:09:17

I can't do the work they are asking me to do, if they have take some critical emails out of my account in relation to it. I told them on Friday morning, I was working on it from home and had a meeting arranged with an external company I had to do work prior to the meeting which I told my manager in the am the work I was doing. Also emailed her about other work I was catching up with after last couple of days being off which she replied to. Then it must have been an hour later the emails had all disappeared from a sub folder and when I asked her about why this happened she immediately denied it. I then sent her a screen dump showing they had been transferred. She still wanted me to do the meeting but it was impossible and has asked me to re-arrange to early next week. I have told her the remaining work required and suggested in the circumstances of me leaving that she pass the information to another member of the team, but she still wants me to do it. I just feel stressed and anxious and embarrassed. This is how it is all the time, not just for me, the previous person who did the role before me resigned and others have left over the last year. I can't be left to get on with my job and in the circumstances of what's happened losing the baby, and their lack of support (not time off necessarily just an interest in me as a duty of care and employee) it's made the situation even more intense. There's other things that have happened as well, very shortly after losing the baby they promised to give me a promotion and they made a big announcment to the team, i darent tell my family until then in case it didn't happen but because of the announcement I thought yes great, I was so happy I felt finally all my hard work was being recognised and it gave me a big lift. Then a few weeks later nothing happened and then they said they were too busy to do that with me and they felt I was too busy at work to be able to do it now, they needed me to stay doing what I was doing already. It was a big blow and the way they said it made me feel like they didn't care. Anyway I don't want to be there anymore it's just not good for me. I will try and hold my head up high when I go in and just do my job and go home on time.

OzzieFem Mon 07-Mar-16 10:39:08

I think you are being played by your manager for reasons of her own. I would go directly to the boss, either above her or the one that owns the company, and report the entire scenario to them. Make it their decision to sort out the mess and give you further instruction, not your manager.

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