Hi Lifehacker, I recently quit my job, and found out that they're not shutting down my work email — only my access to it. Is this legal? I worry they could send emails claiming to be me. Thanks, Mistake Identity
It's extremely unlikely that anyone is using your email to impersonate you. Typically, what happens is that the email address is redirected to another staff member or a catch-all account — this ensures that any work-related messages don't go missing. The account will still receive incoming emails but will otherwise be inactive. In practice, the inbox is usually completely ignored.
So is this legal? While we don't profess to be lawyers, we suspect that an employee's email address and its contents technically belong to the company (this is one reason why you shouldn't send personal emails from your work account.) Unless you find proof that they are sending emails in your name, you can't really demand that they close it.
Presumably, you would have sent out a bulk email with your new contact details prior to leaving the company. As long as you were appropriately thorough, no important emails should end up in this account.
If you're still feeling paranoid, you could try asking them to shut it down politely. Failing that, request that an automated reply be added which explains you are no longer with the company. (You can then test it yourself by sending an email to the old account.)
Have any readers have been in a similar situation to MI? How did you handle it? Share your stories in the comments section below.
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