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Government Employees' Personal E-mails Are Not Public Records

Are government employees' personal e-mails considered public records? No, according to an opinion by the Wisconsin Supreme Court last Friday.

From Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District:

In the present case, the court is asked to decide whether the contents of government employees' personal e-mails (that is, e-mails not related to government business) should be released to the public in keeping with the purpose and policy of the Sunshine Laws that the public be fully informed about the affairs of government and the official acts of government officers and employees....

[We] conclude that while government business is to be kept open, the contents of employees' personal e-mails are not a part of government business. Personal e-mails are therefore not always records within the meaning of Wis. Stat. 19.32(2) simply because they are sent and received on government e-mail and computer systems.