Can my employer ban me from sending any non-work emails?

Your employer probably doesn't have to allow you to use the company’s email system, or their web access if you are using web-based email. A blanket ban on use for personal reasons is not against the law. However, good employers will allow their staff some personal use of the email and web, provided this is used responsibly and doesn't interfere with work or the employer's reputation. Check your employer's email usage policy, which will define your rights in this area.

The best way to conduct any personal email communications at work is to use a private email address rather than your work one, if your employer's web usage policy allows this. Web-based email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail can be accessed via a web browser from any internet connection.

Your employer may still be able to justify intercepting emails sent at work from your personal email account in some extreme circumstances, such as when investigating criminal activity.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.