March 12, 2014
Be careful about what you and your employees write. Memorize these facts to help your company stay out of trouble:
- Legally archived or deleted messages can be acquired by a court of law or government agency in regard to antitrust, discrimination, termination or copyright infringement investigations.
- E-mail is not the place for discussing sensitive issues, such as suspicions, employee performance, hiring or firing. If you do use this venue for such issues, always consider it a formal and permanent form of communication.
- Stating a negative opinion or feeling about an employee while using e-mail lends merit in a legal proceeding related to discrimination or termination.
- Prosecuting attorneys count on the fact that your e-mail archives will be ripe with incriminating information. They want you to be careless with your e-mail—disappoint them.
- Certain comments, suggestions and even graphics delivered by e-mail to others can give merit to a harassment claim.
- Be careful what you write about others. You can’t control who will read your documents.
- Downloading and viewing graphics that are personal in nature are not appropriate at work.
- Common sense will usually tell you what you should or should not do. If you even wonder if something is inappropriate—don’t do it.
SOURCE: American Media Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa
Workforce, July 1998, Vol. 77, No. 7, p. 40.