Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Mixing personal and business e-mail a dangerous practice

Posted by rjbiii on September 18, 2007

Personal Injury attorney Steven Klearman has posted an article on the dangers of, what he calls, “rogue email practices”:

Not too startling was the fact that the average employee sends and receives an average of 170 e-mails per day at work and that nearly a third of the respondents use their personal e-mail accounts (e.g. AOL, Yahoo mail, Hot Mail etc.) for business purposes at least twice a week. More startling is the fact that 17% of the respondents use their personal e-mail accounts for business every day.

He describes the “potential for legal liabilities” as “off the charts” because of these relatively common place practices. We have already posted about the the potential for harm to employees as well.

I have spoken to groups on subjects discussing the need to have a plan for litigation holds and data management once litigation can be “reasonably anticipated.” One of the functions of such preparations should be to minimize the growth of discoverable data sources beyond the company’s IT infrastructure. Mixing business with personal activities expands the potential data universe of discovery.

But that is countered by the fact that employees are often asked to sacrifice personal time for work, and the growth of e-commerce and online financial institutions. It is easier and quicker for an employee to pay a bill online than to take 30 minutes or more to do so in person. Greater variety in the types of data sources, and a higher level of integration of these devices into our personal life make commingling activities effortless. Drawing a line in the sand is not only difficult, but the very trends of technological progress may ultimately make it impractical.

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