Electronic Mail in the Public Workplace: Issues of Privacy and Public Disclosure

Electronic Mail in the Public Workplace: Issues of Privacy and Public Disclosure

Charles L. Prysby (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA) and Nicole D. Prysby (Attorney at Law, USA)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-060-8.ch012
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The increasing use of electronic mail in the workplace has generated important legal questions for public organizations. The legal questions concerning e-mail in public institutions and agencies fall into two basic categories: (a) issues of employee privacy regarding e-mail messages; and (b) public access to e-mail under applicable freedom of information legislation. While the employer has broad legal grounds for reading workplace e-mail, at least if there is some legitimate business reason for doing so, employees frequently feel that such monitoring is an excessive invasion of their privacy, and the result sometimes is organizational conflict over these privacy issues. These privacy concerns have generated demands for greater protection of employee privacy in this area, and some states have responded with legislation that covers e-mail in the workplace. Government organizations also must treat at least some of their e-mail as part of the public record, making it open to public access, but this also can lead to conflict between public administrators, who may feel that much of their e-mail represents thoughts that were not intended for public disclosure, and external groups, such as the press, who feel that all such information belongs in the public domain. State laws vary considerably in terms of how they define the types of e-mail messages that are part of the public record, some being far more inclusive than others. Given the uncertainty and confusion that frequently exist regarding these legal questions, it is essential that public organizations develop and publicize an e-mail policy that both clarifies what privacy expectations employees should have regarding their e-mail and specifies what recording keeping requirements for e-mail should be followed to appropriately retain public records.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
G. David Garson
Chapter 1
Alana Northrop
This chapter first points out the need for a reader on information technology by reviewing the importance given computing education by MPA programs... Sample PDF
Information Technology and Public Administration: The View from the Profession
Chapter 2
Bruce Rocheleau
Information systems are becoming more involved in politics due to the growth of the World Wide Web, electronic government, and the increasing... Sample PDF
Politics, Accountability, and Governmental Information Systems
Chapter 3
Stephen H. Holden
Federal agencies rely extensively on information technology (IT) to perform basic missions. Arguably, public administration should be driving the... Sample PDF
The Evolution of Information Technology Management at the Federal Level: Implications for Public Administration
Chapter 4
Patricia Diamond Fletcher
The strategic management practices required for the use of information and information technologies under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (P.L.... Sample PDF
The Realities of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995: A Government-Wide Strategy for Information Resources Management
Chapter 5
George T. Duncan, Stephen F. Roehrig
Government agencies collect and disseminate data that bear on the most important issues of public interest. Advances in information technology... Sample PDF
Mediating the Tension between Information Privacy and Information Access: The Role of Digital Government
Chapter 6
E-Government: An Overview  (pages 120-138)
Shannon Howle Schelin
Information technology has fundamentally altered many aspects of daily life, including interactions with the government. The role of the Internet... Sample PDF
E-Government: An Overview
Chapter 7
Donald F. Norris
In this study, I examine the adoption, penetration and impacts of the adoption of leading-edge information technologies in American local... Sample PDF
Leading-Edge Information Technologies and American Local Governments
Chapter 8
James E. Swiss
The most widely accepted normative model of “good” public management is often called results-based management. It encourages planning and target... Sample PDF
Information Technology as a Facilitator of Results-Based Management in Government
Chapter 9
Carl Grafton, Anne Permaloff
Almost any public sector task employing a computer can be accomplished more efficiently with a variety of tools rather than any single one. Basic... Sample PDF
Computer Tools for Better Public Sector Management
Chapter 10
Michael L. Vasu, Ellen Storey Vasu
The integration of computing into survey research and focus groups in research and practice in public administration and related fields is the focus... Sample PDF
Survey Research, Focus Groups, and Information Technology in Research and Practice
Chapter 11
T. R. Carr
Geographic information systems emerged in the 1970s and have become significant decision-making tools as their capabilities have been enhanced. This... Sample PDF
Geographic Information Systems in the Public Sector
Chapter 12
Charles L. Prysby, Nicole D. Prysby
The increasing use of electronic mail in the workplace has generated important legal questions for public organizations. The legal questions... Sample PDF
Electronic Mail in the Public Workplace: Issues of Privacy and Public Disclosure
Chapter 13
Carmine Scavo
The World Wide Web (Web) has been widely adopted by local governments as a way to interact with local residents. The promise and reality of Web... Sample PDF
World Wide Web Site Design and Use in Public Management
Chapter 14
G. David Garson
Research questions are outlined, forming the dimensions of a research agenda for the study of information technology (IT) in public administration.... Sample PDF
Toward an Information Technology Research Agenda for Public Administration
Doing Online Research in Public Administration
About the Authors