We've talked about this before. But it definitely bears repeating. CBS News found that 60 percent of companies polled, read employee email. Which means more and more employees are getting pink slips for sending emails that violate company policy. For example, 2 women at PNC Bank were recently fired after forwarding an email to co-workers. All because it contained a joke with a racy picture of Hilary Clinton.
Lots of companies have ignored their email policies for years. So, how come they're cracking down now? Because they're being sued by their own employees! Almost 1 in 10 companies has been sued by an employee who was offended by something that landed in their "in-box." Mostly jokes that could be considered sexual harassment or racial discrimination. And a quarter of American companies have fired someone for inappropriate email.
How do companies know what you're doing? Some hire people who do nothing but read co-workers' email. Others use software to track down workers who send improper emails, and visit inappropriate websites. So, how can you protect yourself when it comes to your company's email policy?

  • First, if you receive an email that isn't business-related, don't forward it to anyone else at your company.
  • Second, consider email to be the electronic equivalent of a postcard. In other words, once it goes in the mail, anybody can read it.
  • And finally, before you click the "send" button, think about this: Is the content appropriate? In other words, would you be embarrassed if your email was read aloud at the company picnic? If the answer is yes, click "delete" instead.

The bottom line is, it isn't worth losing your job just to pass along a funny joke. After all, you might be the only person who finds it funny.