In the modern wireless world, businesses are always connected. Whether it be through email, web conferences, or phone calls, employers and employees can connect 24 hours a day. Further, work product can be delivered to customers conveniently at any hour of the day. However, with increased online presence comes increased risk with high stakes for organizations. This risk is amplified when a lawsuit strikes, putting your company’s electronic habits on full display.
Follow these Human Resources (HR) tips to help minimize liability and exposure in the event of a lawsuit:
- Employ a company-wide policy regarding internet use.
This policy should set out clear guidelines for what can (and cannot) be done on company equipment so that there is a clear understanding of the ramifications for abuse on all platforms. Consult with a professional, such as an employment law attorney, to ensure that your policy addresses potential legal pitfalls.
- Conduct training sessions with specific scenarios.
Many policies are forgotten without reminders and real-life examples. Invest in comprehensive training sessions so that issues do not arise in the long term.
- Do not use internal “chat” functions to discuss confidential matters.
Many businesses have adopted platforms with chatroom options, such as Skype for Business, to streamline daily communication. Internal communication platforms catalog and archive communications/chats. When a lawsuit is initiated, these communications may likely be fair game for production to the other side.
- Do not email anything that you would not like to see on the front of a newspaper.
When a lawsuit strikes, most emails are subject to disclosure in discovery. There are exceptions for communications with attorneys (this protection is not infinite) as well as other limited circumstances. It may seem “obvious” however leaning against putting potentially offensive or crass opinions regarding other employees or competitors in writing is a wise choice.
Want to make sure that you prevent technological issues before it is “too late?” Feel free to email or call me to discuss an approach for your company’s technology policy.
ABOUT THEODORA STRINGHAM
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Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.
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