Kudos to Tom Keane for raising awareness of e-mail privacy in organizations (“Bosses should not be able to read e-mails”). But I think his solution is backward; it is employees who need to understand the difference between personal and company e-mail.
In today’s digital age, writing an e-mail with your company e-mail system is no different than writing a letter on your company’s letterhead. If you send it to the outside world, you are speaking on behalf of your company. In fact, most work e-mail signatures include the writer’s organizational title.
If a company ever needs to investigate a potential crime or harassment issue, or if it is subpoenaed, employees should not be surprised to have their company e-mail accounts searched without warning.
The solution may be simple and easy: Use your personal e-mail account for personal e-mails. Don’t use your company e-mail account for personal e-mails.