Creating an Email Disclaimer: 7 Things to Keep in Mind

Sep 28, 2021

What Is an Email Disclaimer?

There have been heated discussions regarding the legal effectiveness and enforceability of email disclaimers. Even with the risen issues email disclaimers have been used in the corporate sector for quite sometime now.

What are they though? Email disclaimers are either warnings or legal notices added at the end of each email telling you what to do and what not to do with emails sent from your company.

This can come inform of confidentiality, compliance, non-binding, correct recipient, GDPR or opinion requests. Thanks to this feature it is easy to know when you are sending a confidential message to a recipient outside the company. Moreover, its is easy to keep information safe within the company by using confidential email disclaimer.

What should A Disclaimer Include?

It should simply contain the warning or the notification your intent to communicate to your audience. In any case that your disclaimer contains any legal issue, get a lawyer to advice you on the best way to create an effective message.

Types of Email Disclaimers

  • Confidentiality Email Disclaimer - Contains information that is confidential and should only be read by the recipient mentioned in the email. This can also be known as email confidentiality notice.
  • Security - Intended to protect company software’s from viruses or malware by informing the recipient to check attachments against viruses.
  • Contracts - Contract email disclaimers are intended to help employers and employees avoid misunderstandings during quotations or other processes that require management authorization.
  • Environmental Disclaimers - They are very simple and visible as they have the green icon to show care for the environment.
  • Employees Liability - It is mostly used by companies to protect themselves from employees’ personal viewpoints. They simply state that the email contains content belonging to the author and do not necessarily portray company views.

7 Things to Keep In Mind

It is essential to understand the legal consequences of having an inappropriate email disclaimer. This is dependent on the country of origin and your respective company. For instance, in the UK all corporate limited company emails should include company registration number, registered address and, if required and a VAT number.

Moreover, email disclaimers have elements of protection such as copyright and trademark notices. Therefore, it is not a simple creation but an important task that mostly requires legal advice.

Some of these laws are not negotiable and can lead to legal consequences if ignored. It therefore important to understand your company and the related legal consequences.

2. Always Understand the Type of Email You Are Sending

When adding a disclaimer, you need to understand the type of email you are sending. If sending a confidential email, ensure you include a confidentiality notice.

This should be placed as the header to ensure it is the first thing that the recipient reads. Placing the disclaimer at the bottom of the email could lead to misinformation.

For instance, if you receive an email with a disclaimer saying you shouldn’t read the email but placed at the bottom, by the time you are seeing the disclaimer you are done reading the email.

3. Be Brief and Straight to The Point

Lengthy disclaimers increase text or affect email signature design. A disclaimer should only include the information you need to tell recipient regarding the email. Nothing less, nothing more.

If you have to share a detailed version of your disclaimer provide an external link to access of the online version of required information

4. Differentiate Internal and External Email Disclaimers

Every email disclaimer should be relevant depending on the recipient of the email. If it’s an internal recipient virus and a contact warnings will have less meaning. However, confidentiality notices will have more meaning when disclaimed against.

To avoid lack of consistency you can create global internal disclaimer that only links to all internal emails. Alternatively, you can create personalized or department-oriented disclaimers for internal circulation.

5. It Is Not Safer Not Having a Disclaimer

It is likely to think that not having a disclaimer is safer for your company. However, it is easy to get hurt in the corporate world or loose a deal because of ignoring it.

Some companies are required by the law to have email disclaimers. If by any chance you fall in that category and end up ignoring due to lack of knowledge it is quite easy to be caught and bear legal consequences.

Being aware of the requirements keeps within your company in a particular law remit allowing you to update your email disclaimer accordingly.

6. It Is Okay to Add Different Disclaimers Per Department

Different issues can apply in each department. For instance, financial department can have both confidentiality email disclaimer as well as a security terms and conditions.

In sales it is likely to find a notice regarding quotations and company terms and conditions on client orders

7. You Can Your Disclaimer to Your Email Signature

Lacking an email disclaimer does more harm than good. If you are not sure how or where to add you email disclaimer, your email signature could be the best place.

It is essential to ensure that you do not create a disclaimer too big for your email signature. You have to ensure you are straight to the point.

This is achievable by looking for disclaimer template as well as a trusted email signature generator. Even though is should be short and concise ensure it is created as per the requirements of your country.

Final Thoughts

Email disclaimers are used by a few companies but end up hurting many. Most companies ignore them or do not necessarily know the laws that apply to their field in their country. This might cause legal consequences.

To avoid such issues, it is essential to know the different types of email disclaimers such email confidentiality notice, security, contracts, and employee liability.

Also, before creating an email disclaimer there are a few things to consider such as the type of email, you are sending, the recipient and the department.

Different departments might have more than one disclaimer and that is okay. For instance, sales people might have order regulations disclaimer and confidentiality notice.

In whichever field you are in, know the legal requirements governing your field and customize your disclaimer as per the company.

You could use email disclaimer template for better results.