Apparently it’s ok to call someone a ****** on email… “because no one can hear you” – really??!!

In the week that ACAS launches its guidance on social networking I’d imagine there a more than few employers grappling with issues arising from the use of social networking sites, instant messaging and text messages. One in particular is dealing with an issue arising from that rather archaic form of communication – email! Despite the existence of a communications policy and a reminder from senior management only 6 weeks ago that all communications, including instant messaging and emails should be “written in language appropriate for a business environment”. An employee has attempted (unsurprisingly not successfully) to defend the use of grossly inappropriate language in an email exchange on the grounds that a) no-one could hear the language in question and therefore no-one was offended and b) the reference to a business environment could refer only to head office employees, because his workplace, being a sports club, was not a business environment and therefore the language was not inappropriate. It seems that the feelings of the recipient were immaterial! Is it unsurprising that, according to ACAS, “some estimates report that misuse of the internet and social media by workers costs Britain’s economy billions of pounds every year”!