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Is opening someone else's mail legal?
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Is opening someone else's mail legal?

Recently left a job. A couple months after leaving I got a big white envelope in the mail. When I opened it there another piece of mail in the bigger one. The smaller envelope, which was regarding a retirement plan, was opened. It was taped shut. Is it legal for an exemployer/coworker to open a piece of mail like that?


2008-04-08 19:06:32 +0000
It is not legal for someone to open up mail addressed to someone else, but if they used the work address, then its not personal mail, its company mail.

2008-04-08 19:44:31 +0000
Usually, it is illegal for someone to open mail that is not addressed to them. (like if someone stole your mail from your mailbox)

This is a different situation however. Since the package of mail came from your former employer and since the piece of mail was in some way related to your former employer, they may have a right to open it. (It's like the sender re-opening something before they send it, so they can add something else.) It would be a hard thing to prosecute.

If, however, a co-worker or someone in the mailroom, opened your mail, then that would still be illegal. The only person who could probably get away with it is your boss. But again, it would be too hard to prove who opened your mail or if it was even done on purpose.

For example, sometimes the neighbor's mail gets put in our mailbox (like one piece of mail). Sometimes I open the mail without looking at the address because it was in my mailbox. After realizing it's not mine, I'll take it over to the neighbor's house and explain what happened. Not a big deal. It wasn't my fault the postal worker put it in my box. (Sometimes I notice before I open it.)

2008-04-08 19:07:05 +0000
I think not if it was addressed to you personally.

2008-04-08 19:12:40 +0000
No, if the feds want to make it rough on you, you could be tried under federal laws, and that means time in the federal slammer, if you're convicted.

2008-04-08 19:06:37 +0000
no it is not. It is illegal to read others mail, as it is illegal to forge signatures.

2008-04-08 19:09:09 +0000
yea you need to respect people privacy

2008-04-08 19:08:35 +0000
Its a felony.

2008-04-08 19:09:05 +0000
mail you receive at work is fair game for the company to assume is related to their business and for them to open if you are not there anymore.

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