Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
About the RTBU
Contact us

Email Warning

With all the festive Christmas emails doing the rounds at this time of year, it is timely for us to discuss the legalities of using your work email address.

Although your employer will likely have an email and or computer usage policy which may allow for limited personal use of company resources, it's important to remember that the law is very clear on who owns your work email address; it is your employer. This means that the organisation you work for has the right to read all of your incoming and outgoing emails.

The repercussions of this may be many and varied. Your employer may end up reading personal information that you did not want them to know about and they may also stumble upon inappropriate emails that have been received, read or forwarded by you.

Your employer may read emails that are exchanged between you and your union organiser / delegate about your employment matters.

Most modern employers accept the fact that Union activity is not only lawful but also reasonable. The RTBU sends emails to members at home and work regularly with members doing likewise. Where members need to provide personal and confidential material to their Union though, we always recommend doing so via a personal email account.

It is unlikely that your manager is sitting in a darkened room pouring over every full stop and comma in all of your emails but it is sensible to be cautious. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself before you click send, "Do I want my manager reading this?" If the answer is no, then don't send it, at least not from your work account.

Use your personal email for those Christmas (or not appropriate for work) funnies and don't access them on your work computer. Your work computer is also your employer's property and can be inspected by your employer any time the urge takes them. You should use it as if your manager was standing over your shoulder watching you.

We, at the union office, would prefer that if you need to contact us, that you do so with these points in mind. If you don't want your employer knowing about it use your personal email address or mobile phone.

The RTBU sees it as important that we have a record of your private email address so we may communicate with you confidentially. You can provide your private email address to the RTBU office at info@rtbu.com.au along with any other updated details and then we will update your records.

The RTBU would like to to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a safe and a safe and happy New Year.

Bruce Mackie,
Branch President.