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Hold Those Records or Else

August 31, 2007

The preservation of documents in the electronic age has posed a host of new issues when employers are being sued. Certainly taking steps to maintain electronic and paper records is required when a lawsuit starts. But preserving hard drives, voice mails, e-mails and other computer generated and computer exchanged information earlier may be vital to success. What steps need to be taken and when they must be taken can make all the difference.

A recent Connecticut federal court decision brought the issue of electronic document preservation to the forefront. The result for one unwary employer was disastrous. Letting those involved in the decision-making and with responsibility for maintaining computer systems know they must not delete, modify or "scrub" existing files, that may be relevant to an employment dispute even before an actual lawsuit or agency complaint is filed, is essential. This obligation can arise long before the marshal arrives; it may arise as soon as an employee makes an informal complaint.

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