Poor Records Management: Do not put 'Love you' in a business email – Ever!
Have you noticed that emails are becoming a very popular way to bust companies who are doing questionable dealings? Look at the US government for a good example. In a recent article, it appears that San Bruno, CA city officials demand that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reduce pressure in their gas lines due to safety concerns. (Please note that the issue stems from a deadly explosion in 2010, which state investigators say was largely caused by sub-standard record keeping and maintenance issues.)
Despite the fact that PG&E did a pressure test, a document filed with regulatory agency Public Utilities Commission notes, “A pressure test is not a substitute for accurate records. Both state and federal laws and regulations require accurate records to operate and maintain a gas transmission system safely over time.”
Now, to the ‘Love you’. Documents have surfaced indicating the PG&E executive may have unusually close ties to PUC Officials. So much so, that the city is calling for the resignation of the PUC President, and seeking sanctions against the utility company. According to the article, “Emails between the two parties released to the city last week show a curious level of familiarity, including an email to a PUC official that ends with the words, “Love you. Thanks.” Other emails contain public relations advice from Peevey to officials at PG&E.”
Emails are now an accepted piece of evidence in a court case. The repercussions of an email can be devastating and costly, regardless if it is deserved or not. Records managers need to be on their toes and address the issues that can occur when the content of an email can be held against the organization. How many do?
For now…Love you…and thanks for reading