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Smart organizations educate their employees about acceptable email use and follow a policy of regular computer-file purging to keep the company network free of unnecessary data storage.

But what if your organization thinks it may be a lawsuit target? Should you keep purging email messages in accordance with your regular policy? The answer, many organizations are surprised to find out, is "No."

Email messages are official company records that can be summoned in a lawsuit. So, you may have to put a "litigation hold" on email deletion if you think those messages could be important to the case. The same goes for instant messages (IM).

Most employers aren't aware of this legal danger. In an American Bar Association survey, more than 80 percent of trial lawyers said their clients don't have a policy to handle electronic discovery requests. Two-thirds said that when their clients are notified of a lawsuit, the client...(register to read more)

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