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Beware of Emails - Lesson No. 513

You may recall that emails played a prominent role in the Monica Lewinski matter. The gang at Microsoft learned about the dangers of email when messages were used against the company in the Government's antitrust case against the company. You may even recall how I obtained a $30,000 settlement from a city after one of its employees sent an email defaming a local business.

Despite these widely reported incidents, it has happened again. This time, an ABC executive emailed insulting comments about the President while watching a debate during the last election. Somehow the email got out (probably forwarded by one person to another and so on and so on. . .) and was posted on websites. The executive was horrified and apologetic. His network was embarrassed. Last week the executive was fired.

The lesson is: be careful what you say in emails! Always assume your email might be forwarded to others without your knowledge or consent or recovered during a lawsuit from computers even though the email may have been deleted.

In short, never say anything in an email that would embarrass you or cause problems if the email was published on the front page of your local newspaper.

Monica Lewinski did not know this. The bright lads and lasses at Microsoft should have known but ignored this. The city employee did not think about this to the detriment of a local business and his employer. Don't you forget this and don't let your employees forget this either.

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