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Insight

The dangers of emails

07/09/2011
Most of us send tens of emails every day at work. Many of those emails will be professional and relate to business matters. However, others will be personal whether to friends or family or to mates in Most of us send tens of emails every day at work. Many of those emails will be professional and relate to business matters. However, others will be personal whether to friends or family or to mates in the workplace. The tone and content of those emails will be different, including jokes and comments about clients or colleagues.

Most employers have electronic media policies in place reminding employees about appropriate use of their electronic media including a reminder about the content of emails and the employer's standards of behaviour. Despite having the policies in place, employees can still make inappropriate comments in emails which can come to light via a data subject access request or if the email is sent in error. We can all send an email in error by clicking the reply to all button or replying thinking the email address in the "To" box is different to who we are actually sending the email. It is therefore good practice to remind employees on a regular basis about your electronic media policy and the need to adhere to your standards of behaviour when sending emails.

The current media storm about an email that Manchester City FC's Chief Executive Garry Cook is alleged to have sent to a player's mother is a reminder to all about the dangers of emails.  Mr Cook denies sending the email and claims that someone hacked into his email account and sent the email from his account.  Had Mr Cook sent the email in question he could be accused of a lack of sensitivity. However, its content is highly unlikely to be a sackable offence.  The matter is currently being investigated by Manchester City FC.  However, if Mr Cook has lied in claiming that someone has hacked into his computer then that would be a more serious issue. That would convert a cock up into a fundamental issue of trust and confidence in the key public face of the club.  We await the findings of Manchester City FC's internal investigation.

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