Employment Law in the Digital AgeAn ever-changing landscape creates further questions about admissible evidence.
The Power of Strong Electronic Evidence
Online evidence is a critical component in almost every employment attorney’s practice. Websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are filled with information that can be used as evidence to win a case.
Fortunately, most employment attorneys haven’t overlooked this vast wealth of information – that’s why it’s critical to use professional webpage capture tools or services to collect online evidence in a way that strengthens its admissibility in court.
Strong Digital Evidence Criteria
As webpage captures become more mainstream, courts are growing increasingly cautious about what they will allow.
Some courts have ruled webpage images that don’t look exactly like the actual webpage as inadmissible as evidence.
Attorneys should provide metadata such as the URL, time/date stamp, and IP address as proof that their screen capture hasn’t been altered.
Often evidence needs to be supported by extra testimony or an affidavit to prove that the digital chain of custody was properly maintained.
What happens when the reliability and admissibility of digital evidence is called into question by the defendant?
If the court finds that the digital evidence cannot be authenticated—proven to be an unaltered record of the webpage at the stated time and URL address—the evidence could be thrown out, dooming the attorney to lose the case. Unfortunately, the reality is that most employment attorneys are taking a risk of losing their cases because of the way they gather digital evidence.
Ways to use digital evidence in employment law cases
- Discrimination Cases – Social media has long played a major role in cases involving sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and disability discrimination.
- Workers’ Compensation – You know the one about the warehouse worker who hurt his back on the job and later posted a photo of him fixing the roof? When it comes to insurance fraud – social profiles are a treasure trove of information.