Employees might not have the ownership rights to their email contacts, following a recent court case in which the employer was given legal rights to an employee's email address book.
In the case, surrounding a local business in Peterborough, it was ruled that a list of email contacts stored on an employer's computer system belong to the employer and not the employee.
This is despite the fact that some of the contacts may have been made by the employee before joining the company in the first place.
As such, employees are warned to take note that the contacts listed on their work computers do not necessarily belong to them in a legal sense, meaning that they might be breaking the law if they decide to download the contacts when leaving their place of work.
This is the situation that transpired when an employee at PennWell Publishing decided to leave and transferred his employer's Microsoft Outlook email contacts list.
"The high court ruled that where an address list is contained in Outlook or another email system which is part of the employer's email system and backed up by the employer, the list belongs to the employer," explained employment law partner Tim Thompson, to the Evening Telegraph.
In related news, research from Fasthosts Internet reveals that slow response to customer emails can be significantly damaging to UK businesses, potentially leading 89 per cent of consumers to choose a competitor, according to IT Wales.