More Careers Neutered by Naughty Messages
It looks like Rep. Anthony Weiner isn't the only one whose future has been fractured by racy messages. The radiology program director at St. Philip's College just resigned after complaints that she forwarded irrelevant, non-work-related emails to her co-workers. Many were interpreted as being racially offensive and sexually explicit.
Donna Laird resigned, according to the San Antonio Express-News, after an internal investigation revealed that she had indeed violated the school's email policy. Laird's supervisor, Rebecca Sanchez, was singled out for being aware that Laird was circulating the messages and failing to stop them. She has since taken early retirement.
The investigation was instigated after a male colleague filed a sexual harassment complaint against Laird, turning over 400 email messages that had been sent over a six-year period as proof. The messages included everything from cute pets, patriotic slogans and motivational sayings, to semi-nude women, animals engaged in sex acts, disturbing language, and offensive jokes that were gender and race specific.
Laird told investigators that she was just trying to "alleviate stress at work," according to the Express-News. It was decided that the emails were indeed inappropriate, but, perhaps because they were forwarded to men and women of all races and no one complained for six years, she was not found guilty of sexual harassment.
"You don't have to do anything as stupid as what Congressman Weiner did to get yourself fired," says Texas legal analyst Clint David. "What most employees don't realize is that even if they forward an offensive email on to their co-workers, you could find yourself looking for another job."
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Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.