Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Dangers of Keeping Email

Brian Peterson, an attorney, writes about the dangers of keeping email:
People just don't realize that when lawsuits are filed, all of the e-mails they keep are not only discoverable, they are easily searchable.

People will say things in e-mails they would never say on the telephone or in person. How many people have received off-color jokes from friends who would never repeat the same jokes in person? And that joke e-mail someone sent you three years ago about the woman down the hall... it's not gone until every one of the recipients and the sender deletes it. If any one of those folks is a pack rat, that e-mail lives on and will expose the company (and maybe even the employee) to liability when that woman files her discrimination suit and subpoenas e-mails and PST files from the company's computer system.

Comments like these provide a window into the minds of employees: "Yep. I do desktop support and nobody wants to delete anything. that's their paper trail and the one email they delete may mean their job down the line as people are looking for somebody to blame and heads to chop." These folks are looking out for themselves, and they don't particularly care that they are keeping scads of potentially incriminating e-mails along with a few valuable ones. Companies that don't enforce reasonable e-mail destruction policies are just sitting ducks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder what's still floating out there for someone to grab and use against you.

1:58 AM  
Blogger oncee said...

Some companies Google people appying for jobs to screen them. That's one of the reasons I hide behind my nick de plume. Courts have said your expectation of privacy on the Internet is pretty low.

5:58 AM  

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