Litigation Associated With Employee E-mail Is On The Rise

Litigation Associated With Employee E-mail Is On The Rise
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Email activity monitoring is starting to become a common practice among employee e-mail. With the growing trend of discharged employees due to abused email inboxes and other online activities, there is now an unfortunate surge in litigation associated with the trend.

Why Should You Watch What You Say?

Many employees tend to forget that even though an email is deleted it can still exist in an enterprise repository that can be accessed for legal functions. Back in 2006 Technology Inc. reported that roughly 25 to 40 percent of firms in North America monitor employee e-mail in some capacity. That number now sits at a whopping 96% percent among firms in North America.

Watching what you say isn’t just important on an ethical level but the legal level plays a major part. Major companies such as MF Global CEO, former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine have been implicated due to a surly email chain sent by the firms’ assistant treasurer. Reports show that about a quarter of companies have had an employee e-mail subpoenaed as part of a lawsuit or regulatory investigation, and 9 percent ended up in court because of an employee e-mail.

Businesswoman Checking E-mail Online on Laptop

Biggest E-Mail Flubs

Patti Johnson, a career expert and the CEO of PeopleResults, told LifeInc on the biggest e-mail flubs she sees most employees include:

  • The misinterpretation: “E-mails are often misinterpreted because you wrote it quickly, used the wrong tone or copied the world. A poorly worded or quickly written e-mail can send the relationship in a downward spiral because it is misinterpreted.”
  • The misused CC: “This is often the equivalent of saying I need to let your boss know because I’m not sure you will get it done, or I need someone else to be involved. Use the CC with intent or you can end up with a trust issue on your hands unintentionally.”
  • The address mixup: “E-mails sent to the wrong person. Yes, it happens and it isn’t pretty. You type the person’s name in you are complaining about.”
  • The angry: “E-mails sent when you’re mad. This is time to take a deep breath and make sure you have the facts and pause. A good rule of thumb is if you are going to send a flaming e-mail out, sleep on it first or at least walk around the block. Because once it goes – you can’t get it back.”

Margaret King, director of a consumer research think tank, The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis reminds us to

“Never put anything in an e-mail that you would not want quoted in the New York Times,”

she advised.

“If the material is that sensitive, ask the recipient to give you a call, and transmit that way.”