An Email Disclaimer can be used as an attempt to minimize this risk and also to prevent the misuse of information by unintended recipients.
The widespread use of email as the standard form of communication in most industries leads to increased risk for both companies and individuals. For example, risk of sending incorrect information via email or to the wrong recipient may pose an expensive and litigious situation which may, in some instances, averted.
Unintended recipients can include a wide spectrum of individuals. There are many cases where a sender of an email incorrectly types an email address and it is quickly sent off to the wrong person. To limit how this information is used by the unintended recipient, an email disclaimer usually, at minimum, will outline that the email should only be read by the intended recipient, cannot be relied on and should be destroyed.
Other instances may include emails containing files that are accidentally attached, which should not have been sent. For example, in the instance that a prospective client is sent a detailed receipt for another current client rather than an advertising flyer which was the intention, this is a breach of both confidentiality and privacy. This example also indicates why email disclaimers are necessary when companies are sending confidential information via email.
Businesses should use Email Disclaimers
A company that has any type of personal, sensitive or trade information (which includes most companies) should use an email disclaimer and should ensure one is appended to all their electronic correspondence.
These examples are demonstrations of employee error, which is a large risk that an email disclaimer tries to mimimize company liability for. Similarly, email disclaimers can also be used as a form of protection for emails, by stating the limitations of the employee’s emails.
It is common for a disclaimer to contain the words: “this email cannot constitute a contract”. Other common disclaimers will state that the views and opinions expressed in the email do not necessarily reflect the views of the company. Again this is stated to minimize the risk of anything which may be contained in employees’ emails that may be incorrect or not reflective of the company’s views.
Email disclaimers should be used in all aspects of company emails. It is a widespread practice today that large companies will include a disclaimer for the simple reason that they have so many employees it would prove to be very onerous to monitor all of their emails and they therefore choose to try to limit their exposure to litigation through the inclusion of an email disclaimer.
Additionally, if any type of advice is given via emails it is also necessary as well as vital, to have a disclaimer on your emails. This is because if the advice is given for a specific purpose, there is a risk that the information in the advice may be passed on to and misused by a third party or misconstrued by the party receiving the email. By having including an email disclaimer on all emails, the company helps protect itself from some of this potential liability.