Destroy Ex-Employee Electronic Mail?

Fire an Employee . . . Trash His E-mail?


Termination of an employee does not give reason for erasing his e-mail records. Those records are not the property of the employee or (usually) the instrument of his privacy. The records are an asset of the employer, showing what the employee did in his role as an employee and agent of the employer and how management oversaw him.

A manager is spinning her wheels if she hunts through exiting employee’s e-mail to decide what to retain and what to discard. It is wiser just to keep the e-mail, consistent with the retention and privacy practices generally applicable for all employees.

E-mail records document intellectual property development by employees, and they record when and under what conditions trade secrets are shared with trading partners. In intellectual property disputes, proving the time and date when particular events transpired is essential. The advantage of e-mail records is that every message is labeled by date and time.

Today, e-mail records are central to many investigations . . . Continue Reading
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