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Jokes and Jokers E-mail Disciplining Policies and Procedures

I sent a harmless joke on our company e-mail to some of the people who work with me, and several responded by saying how much they liked it. My supervisor's reaction was the exact opposite. She called me in and wrote up a formal reprimand, and then she said that this is a final warning. This sounds unfair to me. What do you think?

Did you hear the one about the company that got sued because employees were sending so-called jokes through the e-mail? The less-than-funny fact is that using the company's e-mail for jokes is not a joking matter. You were lucky, as many companies today will terminate an employee for misusing the company's e-mail system.

The problem is that what is funny to one person may be offensive to another, and if that seemingly offensive material travels through a company's e-mail, then the offended person may move into a litigious mode and target the company itself. No matter what the outcome may be, the whole process can be very costly.

At the same time, the fact that you were unaware of your company's policy in this area indicates that your employer needs to take additional steps to publicize it. This is a point you should mention to your manager.

The entire area of humor at work is growing, with more companies placing increased emphasis on the lighter side of work. This has opened the door to a friendlier and more upbeat work atmosphere in many organizations. At the same time, it is important to note that jokes traveling through the company's e-mail system can have costly punch lines.

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