IM and e-mail create business records that can be used as legal evidence.
Employers may be held legally responsible for employees’ wrongs.
Policy and training may create a defense against vicarious liability.
Put updated, comprehensive, written IM and e-mail policies in place now to reduce risks in anticipation of litigation and as part of the ordinary course of business.
Install systems and software to ensure you can retain, archive, locate, and retrieve old e-mail and instant messages when you need them (or when the court or regulators subpoena them).
Have your legal and compliance professionals educate your executive team, IT department, and employees about electronic business records. Teach all employees to distinguish electronic business records (IM or e-mail) from insignificant business or personal messages. Educate employees about the individual roles they play in the organization’s IM and e-mail retention and deletion strategy.
Inform employees about the risks and costs the organization can face when electronic business records are not retained, and IM and e-mail evidence is not preserved properly.