Ask LH: How Do I Stop My Boss From Spamming My Personal Email Address?

Dear Lifehacker, One of my bosses frequently sends work-related emails to my private email address instead of my work one. (Our private emails are in the system for electronic payslip purposes.) I've asked a number of times for her to stop this but whenever she is typing an email address she selects the first auto-fill suggestion without reading it. How can I get her to stop?

Even though she has apologised, it keeps happening — sometimes three or four times per day! This is also becoming an issue when I am CC'd into emails with clients. I want to keep my private email separate from my work email. How can I sort this out, but at the same time not be a dick towards my boss? Any suggestions would be welcome! Thanks, Colliding Worlds

Dear CW,

The simplest and least confrontational solution is to notify her — via your work email — that you've changed personal email addresses and will no longer be checking the old one on a regular basis. Explain that you will only be using it to review payslips; otherwise it's effectively a "dead" account. (You can also set up an auto-reply exclusively for your work's domain name to reaffirm this.)

If she continues to send emails to this address, ignore them. You've thoroughly explained the situation on record so the culpability is all on her. After a few ignored emails, she will almost certainly get the picture and make the necessary adjustments.

In the unlikely event that nothing changes, politely offer to remove the address from her saved contacts so it doesn't automatically appear when she starts typing your name. There's no reason why this situation can't be remedied civilly; you just need to be proactive about it. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Also put in a rule that generates an automated reply just for your boss "Effective xx/xx/xxxx, this email address will no longer be monitored". From that point on, every time your boss forgets and send you an email, she will get a reply back straight away informing her.

      Yeah man, that was my first thought. Setup an auto-reply to head this crap off.

      Can you describe how to do this with Outlook (+/- Web App).

      The standard auto-reply option doesn't seem to allow specific users to be chosen. And filtering rules allow handling of specific users' emails, but not a reply-with-this-message option.

    I would go straight to step 2 and offer to remove it from her saved contacts in Outlook/similar. If the reason she's doing it is because it keeps coming up there, then the way to stop it is to stop it coming up there. She probably doesn't know how to remove it herself.

    "You can also set up an auto-reply exclusively for your work’s domain name to reaffirm this"

    This assumes a desktop client (e.g. Outlook) is being used right?

      How would it work for Outlook? The computer would have to be up and running 24/7 for it to work.
      Hopefully it's something web based like gmail, they let you do all sorts of fancy things.

    The simplest way is to lie to your boss apparently.

      Sometimes you must lie to get rid of mundane unrepentant idiocy.

    Sit with her as she enters your email address the way that she normally does, but get her to hit the Delete key when the first auto-fill selection comes up. This will usually get rid of the auto-fill suggestion and solve your problem.

    You won't become a dick to your boss - you'll become a hero!

    Exaggeration added

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