Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hazardous emails for businesses

There have been specific examples in previous blogs where damaging emails have been discussed. This latest blog discusses some of the more serious damages which can results from careless or indifferent emails. The prevailing message which is meant to be conveyed is that every company should have a set of policies that are closely adhered to.

Hazardous emails

        Recently the American Management Association (AMA) and ePolicy Institute conducted a survey and found 80 percent of 526 companies had a formal email policy. There are no longer excuses for errors in emails (from a legal, corporate, or personal perspective). Appropriate Netiquette extends beyond the commonsense basic values contained in its core principals. Netiquette encompasses the privileges that individuals are afforded and entrusted with during employment.

        Much like utilizing a desk, kitchenette, or audio-visual equipment at one’s place of employment, the email infrastructure is the property of the employer and is owed respect, consideration, and requisite adherence to both common sense and implicit corporate rules. Netiquette encompasses respect and adherence for the following:

1.   Maintaining the company’s reputation

2.   Preventing sexual or illegal workplace harassment

3.   Defamation, libel

4.   Data leakage

5.   Compliance violation (HIPPA, etc.)

Topics to avoid

1.   Terrorism

2.   Committing crimes

3.   Sexual explicitness

4.   Conspiratorial dialogue:

a.   Delete this

b.   No one will find out

c.   Is this legal

d.   What happens if we get caught

e.   Or else!

f.    Unless this is done, then…

5.   Racism

6.   Sexism

7.   Violence

8.   Sedition

9.   Extreme hatred or anger

10.  Revenge

11.  Toxic emails[JL1]  (this is a figurative term for damaging)

12.  Employment change on business accounts


        Emails about anyone’s medical condition (e.g., chemotherapy, CT scan, MRI) should not be written. HIPPA legislation was enacted to ensure that people are protected against having their information exposed electronically.

        One should always avoid using one’s company name in a personal blog, as there may be a policy against it.

        One should refrain from disclosing details such as financials, pricing ,or technical details about another company outside your organization when a nondisclosure may be in place.

        Social invitations, such as a request for a date, are to be avoided on company email. If sexual harassment is ever claimed, there is an electronic record. This can be, arguably, a form of proof.

As always, any comments are appreciated. Watch for the author's book and forthcoming NetiquetteIQ test and rating product to be released shortly. If you wish to have your name put on the book /product waiting list, please send an email to:

Paul Babicki - under construction