‘don’t put this in writing but … ‘ Deleteing inappropriate e-mail can establish motive

Posted on December 10, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Ever send an e-mail on your corporate account that you regret sending?
Ever think that deleting it from your local folder or from the server will save you from Legal’s wrath?
 
Don’t.
 
Several software packages that can detect several layers of deletion, which is worse than you might think. Let’s say I send an e-mail to Char saying “You’re dumb and no one likes you.” Then I write another e-mail saying “You smell funny,” but don’t actually send it; it just stays on my computer in the draft folder. Then I delete it. Well, Johnny Law will see that I wrote it, then deleted it. They’ll see my thought process, then throw my in prison for harassing Peter.
 
E-mails, text messages, BlackBerry communications all are potential time bombs if not worded thoughtfully and with discipline. “It just creates the potential for a permanent record for all this type of stuff,” Clarke said. “People don’t realize that to some degree, if it’s in an e-mail, it’s analogous to etching it in stone.”
 
“My biggest fear with e-mails is not that it can be used against you in some way, but that the assumption is it’s telling the whole story, and it’s not,” said Meece. “It may be the truth but not the whole truth, and there may be some silly stuff in there that’s not ‘nothing but the truth.'”

 
And above all, said 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. Because that is exactly where it might end up.
 
Read more from this article: GCs to Employees: Think Before You Send [Law.com via crunchgear.com]
 
 

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