Cross Posted from Employment Law Lookout

Over the last decade, communication via email and text has become a vital part of how many of us communicate in the workplace. In fact, most employees could not fathom the idea of performing their jobs without the use of email. For convenience, employees often use one device for both personal and work-related communications, whether that device is employee-owned or employer-provided. Some employees even combine their personal and work email accounts into one inbox (which sometimes results in work emails being accidentally sent from a personal account). This blurring of the lines between personal and work-related communications creates novel legal issues when it comes to determining whether an employer has the right to access and review all work-related communications made by its employees.
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We have all heard about the need for companies to develop “Bring Your Own Device” (or “BYOD”) policies and protocols because of the rapid proliferation handheld and mobile computing devices that are owned by the employee (or Officer, or CEO even). These policies have both benefits, as well as the potential for liability in the global context of international business.

So far, managers, lawyers, HR professionals, and the rest of us who worry about such things have been able to limit our concern with devices that actually look like computing devices. The smartphone, the tablet, the personal laptop; these are all things that those of us who want to manage the balance between a company’s assets, and its employee’s flexibility end up thinking about. However, this is about to change in a very subtle and almost invisible way. Now we have to worry about our employee’s clothes.


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