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More Employee E-mail Is Ending Up in Court

July 14, 2004
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One in five U.S. companies has had employee e-mail subpoenaed in the course of a lawsuit or regulatory investigation, according to a survey by the American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute. Last year, 14 percent of companies found their e-mail subpoenaed.

“For financial services firms and others in regulated industries, the failure to properly retain e-mail and instant messages can--and regularly does--lead to six-figure fines, criminal charges, civil lawsuits and damaging publicity,” said Nancy Flynn, executive director of The ePolicy Institute. “Employers simply cannot afford to approach e-mail and IM retention as a hit-or-miss proposition.”

According to the AMA study, only 6 percent of organizations retain and archive instant message records.

A set of sample policies related to managing e-mail can be found online.

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