The intersection where an employee’s personal life, work life and responsibilities meet
has long been a difficult subject area for both employee and employer. This tension has
increased over time as longer work hours and increased demands on employees require
that employees spend time managing personal responsibilities from the workplace. This
may require personal phone calls and e-mail, as well as the use of employer-owned
computers for personal tasks and activities. For the employer, this personal use of
equipment and time for personal activities poses several issues: time spent on personal
activities decreases –at least in theory –the productivity of employees; should the
employee engage in an activity that is improper or illegal, it may also place the employer
at risk of being liable for the employee's actions.
John C. Montana, J.D.