Compliance snips

Employee Use of Personal Emails

“May I use my personal email account for University business?”

“May I use my University email for personal matters?”

“Are my personal emails confidential?”

If you do not know the answers to these questions, please continue to read. If you feel that you know the answers, you might want to continue reading anyway and take steps to make sure that others in your area also know the answers. Proper use and management of University electronic correspondence is important for all members of the University community.

The policy governing employee’s use of University email is Board of Regents Policy no. 1303.3. The policy states that University employees in all categories of employment are to use MUS provided email systems for job-related activities. All emails in the UM email system are the property of the University and considered official records which will be subject to record retention requirements. So the answer to the first question is “no.” In addition, using a personal email account for University business may open up your personal email to scrutiny if it becomes necessary to retrieve the University-related emails.

In this age of technological communication, employees might have some intermittent, personal use of University email. For example, an employee might receive notifications from their child’s elementary school, or have a quick email exchange about a personal appointment. Both would be examples of acceptable uses. Not all personal uses, regardless of how minor, will be acceptable. For example:

  • Employees may never use their University computers or University email for political purposes
  • Excessive personal use of the University computer network and resources violates Board of Regents Policy 1303.1

The answer to the third question—employees do not have any guarantee that their personal emails exchanged on the University email system will remain confidential. The Board of Regents Policy 1303.3 provides: “Within the limits of state and federal law, any copies of messages created, sent or received by MUS employees when using MUS email systems, when stored on MUS-owned equipment, are the property of the MUS. Privacy of email is not guaranteed.”

If you have questions about personal use of University email and your supervisor cannot answer your question, feel free to contact the Office of Legal Counsel at LegalCounsel@mso.umt.edu or 243-4742.