What is proper Email Etiquette when forwarding personal emails sent to you to a third party? Is it okay to simply Cc: the sender as your way of letting them know you are sharing their communication?
No, it does not. By taking this approach you have breached your contact’s trust.
Assume the sender sent that email to you for your eyes only. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all email communications should be considered private and confidential between the original participants.
Always Ask Before Forwarding
Whether it be a business or personal email, common courtesy dictates that you do not forward emails sent to you, to others, without the original sender’s knowledge. That said, we all know people who do this every day.
And as I am sure you can agree, rarely is it for positive reasons. Usually, it’s to make fun of, e-tattle, or just plain gossip. For those who do this, this practice may come back to haunt them one day. You do so to others; they do the same to you.
What many do not realize is that all emails are naturally copyright protected by the author. So to forward an email sent to you to another person, you should get the writer’s permission to do so first.
Cc’ing doesn’t negate your responsibility to ask for permission. Notifying the Sender as you forward their email does not replace asking before you take action. The Sender may not want their words to you published to others. That is their choice to make — not yours.
Respect Others Privacy at All Times
Emails are sent and written to the party for which they were intended. Not to be sent to others without the sender’s knowledge or permission.
By Cc’ing without asking, you risk the sender’s wrath due to the possibility they didn’t want the content shared. Even if you feel there is nothing personal or that the email is about a “common subject,” that is subjective to each person’s definition of what can be considered common.
Show you get it and are not a sneaky gossiper. Always ask first before sharing any email sent to you.