Owning a business comes with all sorts of liabilities. If you do own one you are certainly acutely aware of this fact. The term CYA (Cover Your Ass) doesn’t exist for no reason. One little slip up and you could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. You may even lose your entire business pending the severity of the liability infringement.
Many people, especially business, owners often use a liability disclaimer or email signature when it comes to sending and receiving emails. Then disclaimer is thought to keep you safe from someone reading your email when it’s not intended for them. There is probably sensitive information in at least some of your email correspondence or if you are in some businesses most of your email may contain extremely delicate information.
So, the question is; Do you really need confidential legal notices/disclaimers at the bottom of your emails?
Some laws state that a person cannot open mail which is not addressed to them unless they have permission. If an email is not assigned and or sent to you with your email address on it you should not open it. But, we are trying to figure out if your business really even needs the disclaimer, to begin with.
The Responsibility of the Company
Actions of a company’s employees are of great consequence to employers. When a company expressly states that its employees have been clearly instructed they are not to send harmful or malicious content through email, the company is therefore distanced from the employees’ actions. If a problem does come up the company is much more insulated from the incident and any repercussions.
Protection of one’s confidentiality is important. For instance, when highly personal or private information is sent via email just about anyone may gain access to it. Or, some emails accidentally get sent to the wrong address. In such cases, if the employer has a disclaimer on the email then all the information in it should be protected and cannot be redistributed. It can only be seen by the intended recipient.
If you or your company sends out an email providing false information then you may be liable if any problems occur for the recipient. For instance, maybe you are giving legal or medical advice and the recipient follows said advice, then you could be held accountable if any problems arise in light of your advice if you don’t have the legal disclaimer accompanying the email.
Basically, as long as your email stated that your company is not responsible for any wrongdoing that may occur while using the information provided or following your advice, you should be free of any legal repercussions.
Now, here’s the rub of it all. There has not once been a case in the United States in which having an email involved as far as a disclaimer in said email that actually influenced the litigation. What your disclaimer does is really not much, since both parties would have to consent to the waiver for it to be binding.
This all being said, you should do your own research and CYA before making any decisions.
*This author is not responsible for any liability and or lawsuits stemming from this article. (Tongue in Cheek)