The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Caution: e-mailing hazardous to jobs

Viewpoint by Charity Montieth/managing editor

Are you planning on forwarding that e-mail you got—you know, the really funny, but highly insulting one about President Bush?

Or maybe you have a bone to pick with a government official. Nowadays, the most convenient way to get in contact with most politicians is by clicking on the e-mail link on their Web site.

But hold on, before you hit send, you may want to reconsider if you are signed in to your company’s e-mail system.

Because of convenience, it’s often easy to forget that those accounts set up for you by your employer are set up for you, well, to work.

It’s almost unheard of for employers to provide an account for their employees without privacy and personal usage policies in place. I hate to say it, but those policies are typically printed in the employee handbook, and most of us probably signed a waiver stating we read it. (But, of course, we didn’t.)

But in spite of that, most of us still send those e-mails without a second thought about what consequences could occur.

Last year, a San Antonio man was terminated after sending a controversial message to a city councilwoman to complain about a nightclub in his upper-class neighborhood. Because the e-mail in question was racially charged, the councilwoman sent the e-mail to the man’s employer.

The story was printed in The San Antonio Express-News, and the man committed suicide by shooting himself in the head the next day.

Of course, it wasn’t the e-mail alone that led to his suicide, but his senseless death should serve as a reminder that e-mails are easily forwarded, with or without the original sender’s consent.

When sending messages, keep in mind that, once sent, they can often become a part of public record, as in the case of the San Antonio man.

And just because you picked your spouse’s pet name as your password, don’t think your boss does not have access to your e-mail correspondence.

On the contrary, many employers have some sort of monitoring system in place. Many have filters to block those e-mails containing those infamous four-letter words and other explicit material. Send or receive too many personal messages, and you may get a warning from your boss.

So should we stop forwarding all of those side-splitting parodies of George Dubya and Governor Goodhair?

Of course not! Just send them to my Yahoo! account—so I can still read them at work. (Sorry, boss.)

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