Is it legal for my employer to require me to consent to releasing information from my personal computer if used for work?

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2012

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Is it legal for my employer to require me to consent to releasing information from my personal computer if used for work?

Basically I have a personal computer that my company requires I use for work in lieu of giving me a company computer or laptop. Fast forward 3 years and now they wish to enact policy that requires I give them free range over all my personal information.

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal. They are not "breaking into" or hacking your computer or files without your consent, which would be illegal--they are saying that if you wish to work there, you have to agree to allow them to do this. If you do not wish to agree to this, conversely, then do not work there (i.e. either quit or risk that they will fire you). Employers may set terms and conditions on employment, which employees must accept, even if intrusive, if they want the job: for example, employees can specify how you dress (dress codes), whether you can have a second or part-time job in addition to your work with them, who you can date (e.g. non-fraternization policies), what you can do for employment after you leave them (e.g. non-competition and non-solicitation agreements), etc. They can also require you give them access to your personal computer.

Suggestion: buy a second computer, as basic and inexpesive as will do the job (or buy a new top-end computer, and make your current one the second computer). Remove all personal files from the second computer and use it only for work.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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