UK Legislation and Email Compliance

08 / 05 / 2014 

The most popular method of communication for businesses is email, so why do businesses run the risk of not ensuring they have the infrastructure in place to protect themselves if an email is the cause of a court case?

It could simply be bad advice, an internal staff argument or a customer complaint. All of these situations can be resolved by implementing Email Archiving with the Compliance feature. All emails can be captured at source when they are sent and received, so the business has a full email trail of original emails that cannot be altered.

There are numerous times when an organisation needs to submit an email trail to a governing body, including when a Data Protect Act or Freedom of Information Act request is submitted, and when an Employment Tribunal takes place.

Data Protection Act (1998)

Under the Data Protection Act, individuals can request a copy of their personal data that a business holds. When submitted, a business has 20 days to comply, but can be extended in some circumstances (section 60).

If the Information Commissioner believes that the data controller (a company or individual) is failing or has failed to comply with the DPA, he can impose a penalty of up to £500,000. So having an Email Compliance module in place can help your business avoid substantial fines depending on the severity of the case.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The FOIA affects all public sector organisations including the NHS, Police, Fire Departments, Councils and Universities. This act gives the public the right to access information held by such organisations, which can include a full email history.
This act works in conjunction with the Data Protection Act and organisations have 20 working days to comply with the request.
If a company is found to have deliberately destroyed, hidden or altered requested information to prevent it being released, it is considered a criminal offence.

Internal Disputes

Internal disputes can range from a misunderstanding of communication between colleagues to incidents that lead to an Employment Tribunal.
If an internal dispute does reach an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, a maximum penalty could rise up to a maximum of £74,200.
Employers also need the means to submit evidence if an employee is bringing the company into disrepute by sending malicious emails, deleting emails without the correct authority etc.
Having an Email Archiving system in place that captures emails at source is extremely beneficial in all internal dispute circumstances. It can help get to the root of the problem quickly, uncovering the truth about the dispute.