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Just Because You’ve Been Diagnosed as Paranoid Doesn’t Mean That Your Company Isn’t Watching You

Just Because You’ve Been Diagnosed as Paranoid Doesn’t Mean That Your Company Isn’t Watching You

by Frank Roche on March 21, 2007

in Companies, Ethics, Policies

Under the Microscope

Note to employees: Your company is watching you. And as much as I personally dislike that (and many of you do, too), it’s their equipment and they’re paying you to work…not play. So, you might want to think about sending notes to a co-worker who isn’t your wife that says, “I think about us together all of the time. Little moments like watching your face when you kiss me.” Oops. That’s what USA Today reports in a story called Wal-Mart alleges sex, misdeeds in counterclaim to firing lawsuit.

Lots of Inappropriate E-Mail: The Repercussions
If that Wal-Mart story isn’t enough to remind you of how to use company e-mail (as in, if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read it, or if you wouldn’t want to see it printed in USA TODAY, then don’t send it), then I’ve done a public service and added a couple other cautionary tales for your reading pleasure.

Rep. Mark Foley and the White House Pages. We all know about this one, but the Rep. Foley story tells about e-mail monitoring and how hitting delete doesn’t work.

I once witnessed an incredible e-mail faux pas a long time ago, sort of at the early entry point of e-mail in business. A guy in a group I worked in, which was very few men and a LOT of women, wrote up a detailed report of partying and debauchery at his bachelor party…in Las Vegas. And somehow, instead of sending it to the group he wanted to (I can’t imagine why he’d want to send it to anyone) he accidentally hit “All Group” in Lotus Notes. And before you could say ruh-roh in your best Scooby-Doo voice, over 100 people were reading his e-mail. And what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. Not once he hit “send.”

Use Your Own Equipment for Your Own Business
Here’s what my dad would have said: Don’t be a bonehead. If you have personal business, either on the phone or by e-mail, use your own stuff. I’ve seen it happen all too often that people get caught up with what they think is private communication when they might as well have written it on a flying banner over the Super Bowl.

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