1.Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to set forth the authority and process for initiating, implementing, monitoring, and releasing legal holds, which are required when the normal and routine destruction of records must be suspended despite federal and State requirements and University record retention and disposition schedules.  Present and future records that are involved in litigation, or reasonably anticipated in foreseeable legal action, must be preserved until the legal hold is released by an attorney representing the University.

2.Scope

This policy and procedures applies to all University personnel and covers all records, regardless of form, made or received in the transaction of University business.

3.Definitions and Roles & Responsibilities

3.1Definitions

3.1.1Affected University Personnel:

Affected University Personnel means all University Personnel, including Department Heads or Directors, who are in possession or control of Evidence, which is the subject of a legal hold.

3.1.2Legal Hold or Litigation Hold:

A legal hold or litigation hold is an order to cease destruction and preserve all records, regardless of form, related to the nature or subject of the hold.

3.1.3Evidence:

Evidence includes all records, whether in electronic or paper form, created, received, or maintained in the transaction of University business, whether conducted at home or work. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, paper records and electronic records stored on servers, cell phones, tablets, desktop or laptop hard drives, tapes, flash drives, memory sticks, DVDs, or CD-ROMs.

3.1.4Electronic Records:

Electronic records includes all forms of electronic communications, including, but not limited to, e-mail, word processing documents, calendars, spreadsheets, voice messages, videos, photographs, text messages, or information stored in mobile devices.

3.1.5University Personnel:

University personnel includes all employees, whether permanent, temporary, full-time or part-time, faculty, and student employees.

3.2Roles & Responsibilities

The authority to place a legal hold is vested in the attorneys employed or managed by the Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel. (“OIIGC”).

4.Procedures

4.1

The Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel will notify affected University personnel that a legal hold has been initiated. The notice will inform affected personnel of their obligation to identify and preserve all evidence that may be relevant to the legal hold.

4.2

Upon notice of a legal hold, affected University personnel must do the following:

  • Immediately suspend deletion, overriding, or any other destruction of electronic records relevant to the legal hold that are under their control. This includes electronic records wherever stored, including, but not limited to, on hard drives of University work station desktops, laptops, or computers at their home, on flash drives, CD-ROMs, memory sticks, tapes, zip disks, diskettes, tablets or mobile device. Electronic information must be preserved so that it can be retrieved at a later time and the information must be preserved in its original electronic form. It is not sufficient to make a hard copy. Affected University personnel are encouraged to contact Information Technology Services with any questions concerning suggested methods for preserving electronic records.
  • Preserve any new electronic information that is generated after receipt of the legal hold notice that is relevant to the subject of the notice. This should be done by creating separate mailboxes and files and segregating all future electronically stored information in these separate mailboxes and files.
  • Preserve hard copies of documents under their control. Steps should be taken to identify all relevant paper files and to ensure the retention of such files. Affected University personnel may make hard copies of electronically stored information; however, as outlined above, the information must be preserved in its original electronic form.
  • Complete and return to the OIIGC an Electronically Stored Information Questionnaire.

4.3

The Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel will notify Information Technology Services of a legal hold and provide the following information including, but not limited to:

  • Official notification of the legal hold;
  • Identify all affected University personnel whose electronic accounts must be preserved, including usernames, if known;
  • Identify each person’s status as faculty, staff, student, or retired, if known;
  • Provide department affiliation for each person, if known.

4.4

Information Technology Services must acknowledge receipt, understanding, and compliance with the legal hold without undue delay by e-mail and memorandum to the OIIGC.

4.5

If affected University personnel separate from employment during the course of a legal hold, Department heads or Directors must take possession of any and all evidence under the control of the separated personnel and notify the OIIGC.

4.6

Once notice of a legal hold has been issued, the OIIGC will continue to monitor compliance with this policy and any notice.

5.Compliance and Enforcement

Violations of this policy and procedures are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

6.Release of a Legal Hold

6.1

The Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel will determine and communicate to affected University personnel when a legal hold may be lifted and evidence no longer preserved.

6.2Approval Authority

The Chancellor

6.3Contacts for Additional Information and Reporting

Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel.  336.334.3067

Chief Information Security Officer, 336.334.4374

Revisions

Revision Date Revision Summary
05/15/2010 Revised
11/14/2022 Revised

- Legal Hold. Retrieved 02/04/2023. Official version at https://policy.uncg.edu/university_policies/legal-hold/. Copyright © 2023 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.