Employment: Don't Write Anything You Wouldn't Want The World To See
You may think the title overly dramatic. Perhaps. But, every day, we write many things which might, and much to our chagrin, be discoverable in a lawsuit. More and more, this involves emails, text messages, blogs, and quips on social networking sites. (It appears letter writing is becoming a lost art.)
With the more informal writing that is so prevalent, it is important that managers and supervisors are mindful of what they are writing. The email of a company manager about a former employee may come back to haunt you when that employee sues. The words of your managers can cause the company to be liable under many employment laws. Consider training (or at least cautioning) your managers about the need to scrutinize everything they write . . . before they hit “send.”
Finally, attorneys often see the word “Confidential” on company documents. While there are many valid reasons for this, it is important to remember that your business reasons for designating something confidential may not have any bearing upon whether that document must be disclosed to the opposing party in a lawsuit. This should be a reminder to us all to pay attention even to our most informal forms of communication to be sure we do not subject our employer to liability by being careless.
What seems cute and clever today may seem callous and ill-humored in front of a jury two years down the road. :)
By Kristen L. Brightmire, firstname.lastname@example.org