Can My Boss Read My Private Slack Messages?
With an ever-increasing number of employees switching to remote working, an increasing number employers in California and across the country are likewise using Slack to facilitate communications with work-from-home employees.
If you use Slack for work, you may wonder, “Can my boss read my private Slack messages?” While it may seem that your employer reading your private messages constitutes a violation of your privacy rights, you will be surprised to learn that your boss may be able to lawfully such messages.
Consult with our Los Angeles employee privacy rights lawyer at Obagi Law Group P.C., if you have concerns that your boss is reading your private work messages — or even social media direct messages (DMs).
Can Your Employer Read Your Private Slack Messages?
If you use Slack, you probably know that there are three options for chatting with other people:
- A public channel where you chat with a group of your co-workers and other teammates
- A private channel where you can chat with a smaller group of teammates privately
- Direct messages (DMs) where you can chat with one person in particular in private
While your employer cannot simply join your private Slack conversation unless you invite them, your boss may not be prevented from reading your private messages nonetheless.
Your employer may be able to view your private messages on Slack in two situations:
- You become part of a lawsuit, and the contents of your Slack conversations are relevant to the case, or
- Your boss launches an internal investigation
In either of these situations, your boss can lawfully access and read your private Slack messages.
Public vs. Private Channels and Direct Messages
When using an app to send work messages, you need to understand that nothing is actually private. However, Slack gives its users an option to create and chat in public and private channels. Alternatively, you can also exchange DMs with one or several people.
If you want to create a private channel in Slack, you need to click the toggle next to “Make private” when creating a new channel. Look for a lock symbol next to the channel’s name to make sure that it is private.
Can My Boss Read My Private Slack Messages if There’s No Lawsuit/Investigation?
If there is no ongoing lawsuit or internal investigation, your boss may not read your Slack messages unless you give your employer explicit permission to access your private chats/DMs and read your private messages.
Your boss also may not see your Slack chat history unless other parties to the private conversation copy and paste the contents of your conversation or take screenshots.
It is also important to keep in mind that Slack has an analytics tool that allows employers to see what percentage of messages were sent by teammates in private channels.
What Are My Privacy Rights in the Workplace?
It is true that your boss may access your Slack messages, work email, or even business phone if there is a valid purpose for doing so. However, your boss reading your private conversations in your personal email, social media accounts, or text messages on your phone without your permission is a clear violation of your privacy rights.
If you believe that your employer violated your privacy rights in the workplace in one or more of the above-referenced methods, do not hesitate to contact our attorneys at Obagi Law Group P.C. Call 424-284-2401 to consult with our Los Angeles employee privacy rights lawyer today.