There is no doubt there was much more to Hillary Clinton’s dramatic loss of the US election than her use of personal emails for work purposes.
But the political mileage that her opposition gained from the controversy didn’t do her any favours and was, perhaps, one of the reasons she missed out on the chance to make history as the first female president in the Oval Office.
But the scandal signals a timely reminder to all employers and employees about the use of email, as Employment specialist and FBC Manby Bowdler Partner, Julia Fitzsimmons explains:
“Employers must have a clear policy about the use of work email that makes it clear to their staff what the rules are and why. It should state how company information should be stored and that the privacy of client information is paramount.
“Sending client information to a personal email address, for example by forwarding a spreadsheet or information in the body of the text to yourself at home, poses a risk to that privacy and leaves employers open to legal action, not to mention reputational damage, if the information ends up in the wrong hands, particularly if the contents are sensitive.
“Sending messages through private email, even if it is just with the intention of helping you to work from home, would transfer information outside of the control of a business to a privately controlled server, leaving an employer exposed and unable to guarantee the protection of information or follow data protection rules.
“Employers should also be clear about the rules for using work email for private correspondence. The same goes for internet use. Employers have the ability to monitor emails and internet usage but any IT policy should state this.
“Mrs Clinton would have been wise to consider all these issues before she pressed send – if she had, her place in history might have been very different.”