Once upon a time the internet was a shady place because everybody was anonymous. Personal email accounts were usually something like Awesomeblossom43598@aol.com and most interactions online came through similar pseudonyms. Then came social media (Friendster, followed by MySpace) and people realized the need for more professional private email accounts led to people self-identifying themselves online by name and those people they associate with. For as much as the internet transparency and rise of social media have caused their own problems, both went a long way towards civilizing the internet.
Privacy in employment lawsuits in Texas
One serious problem with social media is people expose a lot of information about themselves and their feelings in a permanent and often public manner. There’s no take-backs on the internet. Once you publish a comment or thought, servers store it somewhere. Even if your facebook or Google+ profile is as private as possible and you only share the most private of thoughts with close friends, it’s all stored on the server. Even if you delete a comment from your page, the server doesn’t forget.
In a lawsuit those server copies are often discoverable. Those comments that your spouse is a jerk or your boss is a fraud can become public during litigation. Even though only shared online with a handful of people. It’s not even a difficult process to obtain those closely guarded comments. Many times private messages and emails are discoverable during litigation. Many employment attorneys in Fort Worth and Dallas know how to find these documents and communications. Don’t assume you can hide them even by deleting them. The servers normally keep the data.
Employment lawyers and social media
So the moral of the story is take care and really think before you put anything in writing. Talk to Texas employment attorney Adam Kielich about your legal needs. Employment lawyers recognize how easily an email or social media post can make or break a lawsuit in Texas. Unlike testimony recalling past events or thoughts, the text of your posts are not subject to dispute or unverifiable. They are your words, sent and stored by a third party. As an employment lawyer I always want to know what a client has posted to social media about the events in an employment law claim even if the content is private. A subpoena or discovery request can look behind privacy settings and turn once private content into public records in a lawsuit.