Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Woman Fired for All-Caps Email Reminds Employers & Employees to Watch "Tone" of Online Communications


Ahem . . . sorry, I didn't mean to shout at you.

Vicki Walker, who worked for New Zealand's ProCare Health, learned the hard way that "all caps" emails annoy people.  Walker sent emails to other employees with instructions on how to properly complete forms.  She used various formatting to make her point:  ALL-CAPPED TEXT, bold text, and colored text.  (Gosh, maybe she even used a COMBINATION?!).  Apparently, the instructions came across a little gruff.

ProCare fired Walker for these "confrontational" emails, saying she created "disharmony" in the workplace.

Walker sued for wrongful termination, and recovered $17,000 for the discharge.  (As another blogger points out, is it really possible to be confrontational in an email on how to fill out a form?!)

Employees should keep in mind "netiquette" when communicating by email, via social networking / social media, or with other online platforms.  As I've cautioned before, employers should also bear in mind how responding to employees' online activities might result in liability. And, people:  LET'S BE FRIENDLY WHEN WE TYPE!

*Particularly for those of you visiting my blog for the first time:  All all-caps, bold, and/or red and blue font used above was incorporated for illustrative (and admittedly, sometimes sarcastic) purposes only, and does not accurately reflect the author's true writing style or habits.  She generally doesn't make a habit of addressing her audience in all-caps.  UNLESS SHE'S REALLY EXCITED ABOUT SOMETHING.

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