Quirky Question #283: They Stole Our Stuff, Can We Sue?
Question: My company recently terminated an employee, and we are very worried she accessed her email inappropriately in the days before she was fired. The timing of it all is … well, quirky.
Here’s what happened: The employee’s manager met with her on a Friday and informed her that her performance was not acceptable, even after several earlier warnings to improve. The manager told the employee to go home early and return to work first thing Monday to meet with the manager and the manager’s supervisor. The supervisor, manager, and employee met as planned on Monday and the employee was terminated. Later that day, however, our IT folks reviewed her account and determined she had accessed her email dozens of times on Saturday and Sunday – there are no “sent messages” in her account, so we figure that she was printing off e-mail and maybe contacts because she saw the writing on the wall about the Monday meeting.
Our policies allow employees to access email from home – but we can’t think of any reason why she would have done so over this weekend and IT said she hadn’t logged in from home for at least six months. Needless to say, the timing is very suspicious, and we’re thinking about suing to find out what she did when she logged in. Can we?