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American workers can access the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging and other forms of electronic communications from anywhere at anytime.

While electronic communication helps people do their jobs, it also leaves a trail. A telephone conversation relies on the memory of two participants, but e-mail and IM discussions can be preserved for years to come. And, given the casual way so many people fire off e-mail these days, that can spell legal trouble for employers.

When your organization is sued, the discovery process begins. Suddenly, you're under a legal obligation to turn over lots of information related to the case. Much of it could be held deep in your organization's e-mail and computer files. If you drag your feet or try to deliberately destroy incriminating documents, a court could hit you with big fines or even send business leaders to jail.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give courts broad discretion to sancti...(register to read more)

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