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Sacking By Email

September 26 2007 - The 13th annual Attitudes in the American Workplace telephone survey of 752 adults in full or part-time employment conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Marlin Company found that 10 per cent said their organization had used email to sack or layoff employees and 17 per cent said emails had been used to avoid other difficult communications.

Frank Kenna III, president of The Marlin Company said:

"Email has become the new shield of today's business. Companies hide behind it to avoid the negative reactions of unhappy employees. While email works fine for day-to-day communication, the last thing you want to do is use it for something as sensitive as layoffs. That risks turning former employees into disgruntled ones who can become walking negative advertisements for your firm."

Other inappropriate emails received included: a humiliating email copied to other individuals (5 per cent), a politically incorrect email (23 per cent), an email sent in anger (15 per cent), and flirtatious emails (13 per cent).

Frank Kenna commented:

"Email etiquette is still in the middle ages and for too many employees anything goes is the rule. Just like companies have telephone policies, they need to have email policies with clear rules for what is and isn't permissible."

The survey also found that 19 per cent of respondents said they had sent an email to the wrong person, and 38 per cent had omitted to send an intended attachment.

Frank Kenna concluded:

"U.S. workers are creating an opportunity for Microsoft to pounce on workers' mistakes by adding a warning about a missing attachment. Hey Bill Gates, how about fixing that attachment problem. Fifty-two million U.S. workers will thank you!"

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