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Take Away


Employee Email Policy Best Practices Having clear and explicit email policies for the workplace is the best defense against employers’ vicarious liability. Employers should have written policies that remind employees that:


 they have no expec- tations of privacy when it comes to email, IM, web-surfing, blogging, texting, or socialnet- working, or any other electronic communica- tions.  email should (primarily) be used for business use.  they have strict responsibility for pass- word security.  they should wait to send personalmes- sages from home.  their organization can controlrisk by con- trolling content.  it is illegal to destroy electronic evidence after notice of an actu- al or pending lawsuit has been received or during a trial.


Working Smarter By John S. Foster, Esq., CHME


DigitalDilemmas


Organizations that plan meetings must educate themselves about the legal risks when using email and social media.


Social-media platforms are now the tools of choice for most associations andcompanies tomar- ket their brand, promote meetings and events, pro- vide content, solicit feedback, communicate with stakeholders, and allow stakeholders to commu- nicate with each other—and the associations and companies. Socialmedia differs from othermedia because it is interactive, peer-to-peer, and instant. Also,


An employer can be held responsible for the misconduct of employees, including inappropriate posting on social- media sites.


once information has been posted online, it never goes away. It lives on forever, even if later deleted. Socialmediaalso encourages users to post theirown responses and content online. Along with the increased use of social mediahascomeanexplosion in litigation overhowit is used and the content of what is said. The legal issues arising in the social- media arena are not new, they have simply been repurposed toaccommodate thisnewtechnology. Organizations that use social media to get out their message and interact with customers and membersmust understand howto not onlymax- imize the rewards, but alsominimize the risks. Here


are some of the major risks and issues of which companies and associations need to be aware when using online tools to communicate.


What Are the Risks? Employers are vicariously liable for the acts of their employees in the scope of their employment. An employer can be held responsible for the acciden- tal or intentional misconduct ofemployees, includ- ing: inappropriate email, posting on social-media sites, blogging abuses, and even cell-phone use.


Employer Liability for Employee Email, Texts, andInstant Messaging (IM) Email Marketing and Spamming If your organization uses email to conduct its business, the CAN-SPAM act sets rules for how you can communicate electronically.The act gives recipients the right to have your organization stop emailing them and specifies tough penalties for violations. Following the law isn’t complicated. Here’s a rundownof CAN-SPAM’s main require- ments:  Don’t use false or misleading header information.


 Don’t use deceptive subject lines.  Identify the message as an ad.  Tell recipients where you’re located.  Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.


 Honor opt-out requests promptly.  Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.


Email, Texts, and IM Create Discoverable Evidence Email and other electronic transmissions are like


ON_THE_WEB: For 22 social-media policy examples and resources, visit http://bit.ly/bvdN1U. ILLUSTRATION BY GREG MABLY pcma convene May 2011 33


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