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An Employees Use Of Work Computers Must Be Authorized

Understanding Employees’ Computer Use Issues

The line between work and personal business can often be blurred. Employees send personal emails from their work laptops at train stations. They text on work-issued cellphones from restaurants. They download work documents from home computers. Wait… is downloading work documents from home legal? 

Yes, if it is “authorized.”

Employers have recently relied on a law Congress enacted in 1984 called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to punish employees who access and download confidential information without the company’s authorization. This law was originally passed to prevent and punish the practice of “hacking” into computers, but the law was amended several times in the 1990s and 2000s in ways that broaden its application.

For instance, if an employer learns that a former employee downloaded files just before they quit, it may prompt the employer to sue the former employee and then search all of his/her personal and home computers to make sure they are not keeping or sending “unauthorized” information. Courts will often allow this type of forensic computer search under these circumstances.

However, there are cases in New Hampshire and throughout the country in which employees accused of CFAA violations have successfully defended themselves. Attorney Phil Pettis has successfully handled Computer Fraud and Abuse Act cases and countless other state and federal employment cases. For further information about employment law issues, contact our law firm, today.

Understanding and managing employees’ computer use is crucial. Misuse or mismanagement of company resources can lead to significant legal and operational issues. Employers must establish clear policies regarding acceptable use, monitor compliance effectively, and address any violations swiftly and appropriately.

At Boynton, Waldron, Doleac, Woodman & Scott, P.A., we provide expert legal guidance to help businesses navigate the complexities of employees’ computer use. Our team can assist in developing robust policies, advising on legal compliance, and representing in any related disputes. Contact us for comprehensive support in ensuring your business stays protected and compliant in this vital area.

We represent clients in New Hampshire, Maine, and northern Massachusetts. Regardless of the legal problem, you can benefit from the experience that comes from a century of service to our community.

Contact us today and let us help you find a solution to your legal matter.