Poor David Beckham!
Well that’s not a phrase you hear often. A talented and successful footballer, with a lovely wife (if you like that kind of thing!) four healthy talented children and all extremely financially secure. Why would anyone possibly feel sorry for him?
Clearly he’s not nearly as happy and content as he appears. The charity work, far from being him just giving back to the community now turns out to be a cynical attempt to get a knighthood. The fact that this didn’t happen seems to have caused him to throw all his toys out of the pram and resulted in his previously perfect mask to slip a little. What’s more, it now looks like the real reason that he didn’t get his gong is because of a less than squeaky clean tax record.
Oh dear! His halo has certainly slipped!
I have no doubt that he will be surrounded by advisers on matters of PR and tax, coming up with a strategy to get his plans back on track. I also have no doubt that a few years from now this may all be forgotten about, and he may still become Sir Golden Balls. However, will anyone be giving him legal advice and, more importantly, if you suddenly found yourself the victim of a cyber hack, would you know what to do next.
Well there’s no point in my telling you to be careful what you say in e-mails. We all say things from time to time that we shouldn’t. So, here are a few things for you to think about, to keep your own halo in place.
Firstly, if you are outsourcing the hosting of your e-mails, make sure it’s done by a company that not only has all the relevant security in place, but is also bound by a duty of confidentiality to you and has sufficient insurance to cover you if you needed to make a claim. Check your agreement with them, particularly the small print which might exclude or limit liability in certain circumstances.
Secondly, make sure there is a good disclaimer on any work related e-mails that makes it clear that anything said by your staff doesn’t reflect your point of view. No matter how careful you are, you cannot check everything that your staff say, so you want to be able to distance yourself from anything defamatory that they have produced.
On that subject, make sure you have an office policy on what people can use company e-mails for. This should cover not only personal use, but also what personal exchanges they may have with clients and suppliers.
Finally, remind your staff of the benefits of being careful about what they say in e-mails. Perhaps review your handbook to see if you need to clarify to your team what relevant action could amount to gross misconduct.
If you use e-mail (so that’s probably everyone reading this!) and you’d like some advice on what you should be doing from a legal perspective to protect yourself against possible hacks, drop me a line at email@example.com using the heading Beckham’s Balls Up. We’ll go for a coffee and a chat about the beautiful game and the ugly matter of email hacking.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Helping to keep your halo shining!