When he was fired, Scott Sidell was angry enough. Then he found out that his former employer was reading his personal Yahoo e-mail messages, after he had left the company.
In a lawsuit that he filed in May against Structured Settlement Investments, the finance company he used to run, Mr. Sidell claims that executives at the company went so far as to read e-mail messages that he had sent to his lawyers discussing his strategy for winning an arbitration claim over his lost job.
In addition to concerns about privacy in the workplace, Mr. Sidell’s claim involves communications between a lawyer and a client. “It’s a nice set of factors that are all compacted into this,” said Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney in the San Francisco office of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties organization that seeks to protect privacy rights online.