Are employers allowed to access/search through one's personal email outside work hours?

My answer got flagged and received a moderator note saying

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

Neither the recent edit, nor any of the recent answers had any sources either, or offers new information, so it's not like mine stands out.

I don't know what to do. I consider my answer basic knowledge of about every law system I know. Find something while doing a legal activity? OK. Use that without permission? Not OK. I don't feel like combing through every possible countries laws to cite sources, especially since we are not a law site. So what am I supposed to do? What does the site moderation expect? Because the flag-text is awfully vague.

  • Sourced material may also be disputed, if folks don't agree with your sources...
    – keshlam
    Jan 13, 2017 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


I don't know what to do

I'm not really sure either (I had added the notice as your answer received a flag about that).

I also only just now noticed that the question was from last year. I saw that there was disagreement in the comments regarding the legality of your answer and added the notice. I apparently did not look at the timestamps there.

I apologize for not doing proper due diligence prior to adding this and I have removed the notice.

I don't feel like combing through every possible countries laws to cite sources, especially since we are not a law site.

One thing that does make that question a mess is that it is a question for someone in Australia, but as far as I can tell only one of the answers tangentially touches on that (the anecdote at the bottom of this answer).

I'm... not really sure that any of the answers really address the situation for the OP, after rereading them all.

This question is a borderline "apply the law for me" legal question as a lot of the answers touch on that, too.

(I'm not really sure this answers your question, but this was way too long a comment and I thought it would be good to write out my thought process)

  • 1
    Uhm I am not sure I understand what timestamps have to do with lack of due diligence. I think you did the right thing by posting the notice. The site rules apply regardless of how old the posts are. (Correct me if wrong.) Nonetheless, in this case, I think the problem is with the rule itself. If the Wikipedia army started flagging everything for citations, The Workplace will come to a grinding halt [citation needed].
    – Masked Man
    Jan 8, 2017 at 17:01
  • 1
    The other problem with the rule is exactly what the OP sees. "How come my answer got pasted with the notice, but other answers seem to be okay?" The problem here is it is not clear what moderators should do with the flags. If one answer is flagged, should they just process the flag for that answer, or also apply the flag to other answers for "fairness"? If they did the latter, that sounds like an overreach (aka mod-hammering), as those answers were not flagged.
    – Masked Man
    Jan 8, 2017 at 17:05
  • 1
    As the citation-note is gone now, I'm happy. I think the location was added after many of the answers, that's why none of them are that specific.
    – nvoigt Mod
    Jan 8, 2017 at 21:11
  • @nvoigt only 1 of the remaining answers (several were deleted) were posted prior to the OP stating in the Q that he was in AUS.
    – Chris E
    Jan 9, 2017 at 20:06
  • This is one of those questions that should have been put on hold until we had enough info to answer Jan 13, 2017 at 20:22

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