When I first saw the story about a woman whose use of all caps in her email led to her firing, I will admit I gave myself a high five. If this could happen for Caps Lock, could firing over egregious use of the Reply All button be that far away? Oh, be still my heart.
The story: An employee of New Zealand's ProCare Health, Vicki Walker, was kicked out of her job for sending "confrontational emails." These emails were enriched with text formatted in a variety of red, bold, and all caps fonts and included stern instructions on how forms should be filled out. However, she sued for wrongful termination and was awarded $17,000.
Of course, the story (from tech.yahoo.com) leaves out many of the crucial details behind the firing. Was the woman not warned by HR or management on several occasions that her emailing technique was unsatisfactory? That's the only reason I can think of that she was able to appeal. I would think the company could have had a pretty solid case with claiming she caused a hostile work environment.
I realize that email "attitude" can be greatly misinterpreted, but if the woman was asked to refrain, explained why her behavior was offensive, and yet continued to do it, then I think she was being insubordinate.
What do you think? Also, let's have a little fun here. What email offenses would you like to be grounds for firing?
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.