Email Records In Court

Written by Gregg Ruais
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One of the most disturbing aspects of the Enron scandal is the fact that company executives ordered incriminating evidence to be destroyed. Employees at both Enron and Arthur Andersen, Enron's accountants, were told to work overtime in order to shred all paperwork that would have indicated how the big wigs at each firm knew about Enron's true financial outlook. Not only did Enron's senior executives mislead their employees, but they couldn't even accept responsibility for destroying their workers' dreams of retiring.

Enron Inspired Tougher Archiving Standards

Companies like Enron have inspired new legislation that requires electronic record keeping rather than mere paperwork. After all, paper can be shredded or burnt, but electronic records can be protected and made immutable. The only electronic messages that will be considered strong evidence in court are those that cannot be manipulated once they have entered the archives.

Executives who do the right thing, therefore, will have evidence to prove their innocence. Those who use deception for personal gain, on the other hand, have reason to worry about the new laws. While high-level officers once had free reign over their companies, it seems as though the government is now attempting to place ceilings on how much power the select few can really have.

Email records can be used in court to validate communications, verify witness testimony, and confirm dates. Emails can be used as evidence to disprove or prove discriminatory claims, sexual harassment charges, and accounting integrity. Companies that cannot reproduce former emails potentially face stiff legal charges. The new laws primarily hold CEOs accountable for corporate wrongdoings.


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