Thank you for your response.
They are correct in that there is no expectation of privacy on an employer's computer or employer's computer network. Also, all files on an employer's computer or computer network belong to the owner of the computer or network, which means they do belong to the employer, even if they are personal files of the employee as the employee should not have placed them on the employer's computers. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an employer-provided computer system is the property of the employer including all files on that computer I am afraid and this is the majority opinion of the courts. For example, in U.S. v. Hatfield
, No. 06-CR-0550, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106269, at *27 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 13, 2009), the employer's "Computer Usage Policy" and ownership of the computer was the controlling factor of ownership of the files.
You have some argument that you are entitled to the return of your personal files on the computer as there have been some court rulings stating that when an employee puts personal information on a private part of an employer's computer that they do not lose ownership over those files and the courts in NJ (see for example:Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc
., 990 A.2d 650, 655-56 (N.J. 2010)) at least have held that while the employer can review files they still have to return personal files to the employee, but this is a minority opinion right now and not the holding of most courts.
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