An Auckland accountant was sacked for sending “confrontational” emails with words in red, in bold and in capital letters.
Now, I don’t happen to think termination is a proper consequence for sending e-mails in all caps. I think beheading, or perhaps execution via firing squad would be more appropriate. For first time offenses, I think we can agree that the person should be put in stocks in the company cafeteria where everyone can laugh and point at the offender. I draw the line at spitting, because what if someone who spits has Swine Flu and then other people get it and then they write me whiny e-mails that say, “Dear EHRL, I lied about being sick back in July so I could go to the beach. Now I’m really sick and I don’t have any sick days left, what should I do?” We don’t want that, so let’s limit ourselves to laughing and pointing, shall we?
All right, in all seriousness here the company made a HUGE (see, all caps, I’m shouting at you) mistake. Not in firing her, but in firing her for writing e-mails in all caps/bold/red. The reason they should have fired her is for being rude.
At the end of the day, she’s still fired, but with the latter reason, I doubt she would have won her unjust termination claim. (I’m totally guessing because she’s from New Zealand and I certainly am not a New Zealand legal expert.) The article also states that she was fired without warning. Another big mistake. (No all caps words–see, I’ve calmed down and am no longer yelling.)
She should have been informed, clearly, that her behavior was unacceptable and that she needed to change. At this point, it should be made clear that without the change termination would occur.
Now, I feel for the lady. You’d think it would be easy to fill out forms, but no matter how well you dummy-proof them, someone can’t figure it out and does it wrong.
The reader who directed me to this, wrote the following:
How important is email etiquette (greetings, closings, tone, font, etc) in the workplace? In maintaining “workplace harmony”, being liked, being promoted, etc? When I first started out as a young professional I prided myself on email “fluff” (do you know what I mean?) because I thought it was important to the reader. Now my emails are more to the point – I’m less interested in writing it, and I think most people aren’t that interested in reading it either. What do you think?
On a side note, I’ve noticed that a person’s use of exclamation points seems to be inversely related to their position up the corporate ladder
I think fluff depends upon the audience. Some people like it and some people hate it. But, when in doubt leave it out. E-mail is a great tool for getting needed information. People have entirely too many e-mails and even though I just said in the previous post that I thought conversational e-mails were a good idea, they are a good idea in the proper context. They shouldn’t dominate your e-mails. I like the strictly business approach for most things.
I almost never write, “Dear Mrs. Doe.” Rather, most of my e-mails start out, “Jane.” The times I worry are when I’m sending an e-mail to a bunch of people and there are hierarchy issues and I never am sure about how to put first.
I close my work e-mails with a “Thanks, Evil HR Lady.” Although I will admit that occasionally, I’ll write “Thanks! Evil HR Lady.” I should probably be put in thumb screws for the latter. Which brings me to my next point.
I’m in 100% agreement with the exclamation point rule. People who use excessive exclamation points remind me of