Email at work

The BBC reports that The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea has finished an inquiry into the circulation of “inappropriate” e-mails, some pornographic, at its offices.

Out of 5000 staff, the DVLA say that a total of 18 people were dismissed and a further 147 officially reprimanded.

Originally launched in 2006, the inquiry investigated pornographic images that were downloaded from the internet and subsequently circulated amongst staff. I.T. experts were then able to pinpoint which of the DVLA’s staff were using the machines involved at the time.

Other email “offences”:

  • A financial services company in Dublin recently sacked 13 employees for sending what it described as ‘inappropriate’ emails
  • In 2005, 9 staff were sacked by Renfrewshire Council for inappropriate use of the internet and e-mail at work
  • A Designer for a Nottinghamshire shop fitting company was fired in 2005 after using her office system to exchange more than 300 personal emails, many of them sexually explicit, with her lesbian lover over 15 weeks

General email-at-work advice:

  • Don’t use email to delegate jobs to staff – it leaves little room for dialogue and a lot of room for misunderstanding
  • It is inappropriate to discipline an employee via email
  • As a general rule, try to only use work email for scheduling, quick questions and administrative efficiencies

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