Business Emails Can Cause Legal Problems

    December 10, 2007

People are often smart enough not to put sensitive information on paper, and in the event that they do, they’ve frequently got a lighter or shredder standing by.  Employees still have a lot to learn when it comes to email, though.

When writing an email at work, it’s safest to assume that the boss will see it – email monitoring systems are often in place.  Lawyers and courtrooms full of newspeople can also become involved, as Katheryn Hayes Tucker details.

In an article spread by Slashdot, Tucker writes, “It has now become routine even in civil investigations for computers to be subpoenaed so lawyers can look at e-mails and hard drives.  And one thing always leads to another. . . .  E-mails, text messages, BlackBerry communications all are potential time bombs if not worded thoughtfully and with discipline.”

So, while we can’t condone any immoral or illegal actions, employees would do well to type with care, or to not type at all – if a subject is especially sensitive, a quick stroll over to the next office might be in order.

As Tucker concluded (quoting Smith, Gambrell & Russell partner Matthew W. Clarke), “never say anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t want to see displayed on a giant screen in a court room in front of a judge and jury even years from now.”