I have spent hundreds of hours analyzing and working with emails in business and construction lawsuits. This is not exciting work, but it is always time well spent. Time after time, emails have proven to be a treasure trove of useful information in litigation. Emails produced during discovery often make or break a case. Given modern discovery practices and techniques, companies should assume that relevant electronically stored information, including emails, will be discoverable. Banning the use of email is not a practical solution for most companies, so here are two tips to help employees avoid creating “smoking gun” emails.
1. Consider communication alternatives.
Email is a quick, easy, and convenient way to communicate internally, but it is not always the best way. Telephone calls and face to face meetings should still play an important role in communicating sensitive information. If a co-worker is unavailable, then a simple “Please call me” email is a great alternative to a lengthy email exchange.
2. Pause before you hit “send.”
Emails do not go away. Even most “deleted” emails can be recovered. In this way, emails are no different than letters; however, employees tend to take more time preparing letters and reflecting on a letter’s tone and content. Employees should do the same with their emails. They should not send emails in the heat of the moment, and they should not say anything in an email that they wouldn’t put in a letter or wouldn’t want to show a jury.
There are certainly many more tips for dealing with internal emails that could be discussed, but many litigation problems could be avoided if just these two tips were implemented. If you need help with employee email training or risk management for your company, contact Loghry Law, PLLC.