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Chapter 1. Beware Potential Perils > E-mail Misuse and Abuse May Get You Fired

E-mail Misuse and Abuse May Get You Fired

Inappropriate on-the-job e-mail use can cost employees their professional reputations and jobs. Fully 46% of employers have disciplined and/or terminated employees for sending sexually suggestive or explicit material via office e-mail. Another 28% have disciplined or terminated employees for sending menacing, harassing, discriminatory, or otherwise objectionable e-mail.[15]

[15] American Management Association, 2001 Survey of Electronic Policies and Practices.

Real-Life E-Disaster

The New York Times Company fired 10% of its workforce, nearly two dozen employees, and reprimanded another 20 workers for violating e-mail policy at the company’s Norfolk, Virginia, Shared Services Center. Most of the employees, terminated for sending and/or receiving e-mails that included sexual images and offensive jokes, were otherwise in good standing. In fact, one of the offenders recently had received a promotion, and another had been named “employee of the quarter” before termination.[16] A prime example of bad e-mail decimating a seemingly good workforce.


[16] Ann Carrns, “Prying Times: Those Bawdy E-Mails Were Good for a Laugh Until the Ax Fell,” The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2000.


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