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25% of managers have fired workers for e-mail abuse

The threats of lawsuits are prompting more Companies to fire employees for e-mail abuse.  CBS news notes that internal distribution of offensive material is a violation of employer codes of ethics and that hundreds of thousands (13 percent) of employers had to go to court and battle an email-related lawsuit:

"Heidi Arace and Norma Yetsko, both longtime employees with PNC Bank, were fired after forwarding jokes on their company's e-mail."

Employees do not have First Amendment rights because employers are private institutions and they are free to restrict speech to prohibit offensive, defamatory, or embarrassing e-mails.  This Virginia company fired 23 employees, noting all e-mail "must be consistent with conventional standards of ethical and proper conduct, behavior, and manners and are not to be used to create, forward, or display any offensive or disruptive messages."  This article notes that a huge number of managers in the United States have fired employees for inappropriate e-mails.

It notes that employers are responsible for what their employees do during work hours and that there is an epidemic of lawsuit exposure when workers use company resources to injure or defame others:

"Twenty-four per cent of organizations have had employee e-mail subpoenaed and 15 per cent of companies have gone to court to battle lawsuits triggered by employee e-mail"

The article also notes that blogging is a major concern and that many companies prohibit blogging on company time:

"Bloggers who work for private employers in employment-at-will states can be fired for just about any reason, including blogging at home on their own time or at the office during work hours...

Some of the risks associated with blogging include copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation, sexual harassment, trade secret theft, security breaches and productivity drains"




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