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How about if you were to receive such emails from a person at work, the contents of such emails being very stern and detailed instructions on how to properly fill up certain forms?

Would you consider such emails "confrontational"?
Would you fire someone for such emails?

Vicki Walker was.
For causing "disharmony in the workplace"!

(You can read more about it here and here)

Ms Walker had been working for New Zealand's ProCare Health for two years - whether or not the "confrontational emails" were also produced throughout the two years, or if they were a recent development, the articles do not say. All we know is that Ms Walker was sacked without warning in December 2007.

She sued.
She won.

I guess that's fair -- the articles do not mention any attempts to advise Ms Walker on toning down language, or pointing out that CAPS = SHOUTING, so if she was fired because of emails she "didn't know" were offensive, it certainly would be wrongful termination. ... although... puh-leeeze... in this day and age, how can one plead ignorance of general email etiquette??

... and then you have this Employment Relations Authority spokesperson who states "ProCare did not have a style or etiquette guide for employees using email, so it was not clear what was regarded as unacceptable communication," further enabling the "ignorance" stand.

Yeah, I can just see it: another framed A4 paper hung next to the company's core values, vision, mission, quality statement, and all that jazz... and that would be after months of drafting the damn thing, unless, of course, consultants were called in to do it, for a "reasonable" fee, since they are experts and all.

Ouch my eyes hurt from all that eye-rolling!

Anyone else have some 2-cents/sen/centimes to share?

NOTE: fired fortune cookie image obtained from here.

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  1. I don't consider it a fireable offense although it is incredibly annoying. Usually just chalk it up to inexperience in electronic communication and then send them to a netiquette class.

  2. Hi Lynne,

    How's things back there. Over here it's getting more and more quiet. The hardship is beginning to take its toll with Malaysians.

    Lynne, there is an Award for you to collect at:

    Wishing you a great weekend there.

  3. Kapgar: me too ... my main question is was this woman ever taken aside and told that CAPS = SHOUTING and that her style of communication could be offending/upsetting others? I don't think this was grounds for immediate dismissal.

    Windy: for hubby and me things are looking up, thankfully. And thanks for the award, i appreciate your thinking of me :)

  4. It is interesting how quickly people are prepared to leap to judgement with one side of a story and very few facts.The newspaper certainly gave her side of the story, but contrary o their claim, did not ask anyone from the company for thie side. I know someone who works there so took the trouble to find out. It seems the woman was a bully and many staff avoided having anything to do with her. Some were so upset with how she treated them that they threatened to leave. The Company offered all sorts of support and help to get her back on side with staff, which she refused. They even got in an Independant Mediator who was there fullime for a week and trying to sort things out. When she left the staff had a celebration champagne breakfast the next morning. Apparently she was offered something similar to the settlement to leave before she took them to the tribunal.


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