I know the headline to this post should not be news, but, unfortunately, as we see all too often in our job, employees continually seem to think that they can say things in email that they would never say face to face.
By way of example: an employee sends an email from his work email to a few friends that contains a joke about an African American and implies that the mother of that person had sex with dogs. To quote Homer Simpson, "D’oh."
This scenario seems pretty bad already, right? Let’s check out a few additional facts. The employee who sent the email is one of the top ranking supervisors. Even worse, right?
Wait — it gets better. The African American who is the subject of the joke is that employee’s boss. The email then gets forwarded to the local paper, which then gets picked up by the national news and blogs, including the Huffington Post.
If you thought to yourself this was your nightmare day, then you have some sympathy for the Ninth Circuit charged with investigating misconduct of the judge who sent the email in question.
That’s right. The employee who engaged in this behavior was the Chief Judge for the District of Montana. The African American who was the target of the joke? President Obama.
In previous posts, we asked if you could pass the "acid test," which included training employees on your anti-harassment policies. A key thing to remember is that all employees must be trained. It is especially important to train the highest levels of management and owners as no one can be exempt from the policy.