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This item is filed under these categories:
Equal Employment Jokes and Jokers E-mail Disciplining Policies and Procedures Diversity

I emailed an ethnic joke to a fellow employee. He thought it was funny and then forwarded it around. Somehow, it got to our supervisor who disciplined my friend and me. Since I did not send the joke to anyone who would be offended, I donít think I should have been disciplined. What do you think?



You can try to put up a shield of denial, but there is no denying that you deserved to be disciplined. Your actions showed questionable judgment, and the fact that you still feel that you did nothing wrong means that you need to think more about this.

In the first place, most companies have policies indicating that the use of the companyís email and the intranet is strictly limited to business-related communications. Sending jokes is a violation of this policy.

Secondly, ethnic jokes can be very offensive, and under some circumstances, they can generate exposure for an equal employment claim. Some of these jokes are mean-spirited with biased portrayals that can be very hurtful and damaging.

And further, using company email for non-business purposes is taking you away from your assigned responsibilities. You are being paid to work, and emailing jokes on the job means you are being paid but not working, and this is another violation.

The emailed joke started with you, and it is not surprising that it ended with you. This is the time for such behavior to end, and this is no joking matter.




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