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Does Your Business Need an Email Confidentiality Disclaimer?

Email is a key component of communication within the American workplace. With its use and growth comes the risk of costly lawsuits that can impact your company’s bottom line and reputation.
In most cases, an employer will be held responsible for information that is contained in any corporate email message, which means your company has to take the proper steps to ensure email communications do not pose a legal risk. To protect yourself and your business, it’s wise to add legal disclaimers to the beginning or end of all your emails.

How Disclaimers Protect You

  • Confidentiality. A disclaimer stating that the material is confidential will protect you from charges of confidentiality breaches. You should also add a disclaimer that the material is meant only for the eyes of the person it was addressed to and that any other party who sees it is also bound to confidentiality. This will protect you in the event an employee forwards a confidential document by accident to the wrong recipient, or if the e-mail has been intercepted.
  • Viruses. Include a disclaimer that the material could contain viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware or ransomware that could be damaging, and that the recipient will be responsible for scanning for all viruses. It’s also wise to install a virus checker designed to block viruses from entering or leaving your system.
  • Contracts. State that individuals in the company have to confirm any agreement that may form a contract. Many state and federal laws deem it legal to form binding contracts via written communications, and this includes e-mail messages.
  • Advice. If you email advice or other information that the person receiving it could depend on, you should include a statement to the effect that you are making no claims, promises or guarantees as to that advice. If not, you could be liable if, say, an employee offers professional advice in an email, the recipient takes that advice, and something goes wrong. This type of disclaimer will reduce your risk, putting the onus on the recipient for any action taken. Further, you should state that nothing contained in the email should be considered a substitute for professional advice.
  • Client relationships. Include a disclaimer that any dealings via email messages do not comprise a client relationship unless otherwise agreed. It’s common for service providers to offer professional opinions in an email, even unsolicited. But legally, this advice can unwittingly create a relationship of trust.

Contact Sayer Regan & Thayer for Corporate Liability Law Guidance

It’s vital to consult with a trusted lawyer for further information on how you can defend your company from liability related to any emails it sends. Our attorneys have many years of experience working in the corporate realm and can provide guidance for your company when it comes to protecting your interests. For a free initial consultation, contact us today.


These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

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