Matters of Mail Opening by Others Than Addressee

B-203572: Published: Sep 15, 1981. Publicly Released: May 6, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO addressed the question of whether mail marked personal or addressed to a government employee at his work address may be opened by someone other than that employee without his express permission. There are no regulations which specifically prohibit an employer from opening mail addressed in such a manner. However, in order to protect the privacy of the individual, GAO has established a policy whereby mail marked personal or confidential in any manner is forwarded to that person. Any mail not so marked is considered to be part of the company mail and is treated accordingly. GAO also strongly urges that employees have their personal mail delivered either to their home address or to a private post office box.

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