Firing for ALL-CAPS E-MAILS costs company $17K

Sending BOLDED ALL-CAPS E-MAILS is bad form, but is it a firing offense?

In New Zealand it was.

Auckland accountant, Vicki Walker, was sacked for sending inflammatory e-mails to coworkers written in a bolded, red font and ALL IN CAPS, reported the NZ Herald.

Walker, a financial controller with ProCare Health, appealed and won  NZ$17,000 in damages.That’s not enough for her. She’s now appealing for further compensation, claiming the sacking destroyed her life.

Colleagues found Walker’s ALL CAPS messages (often instructions on how forms should be completed) “confrontational,”  say reports.

Did it really have to come to this? Probably not.

To avoid sending flaming and irritating e-mails, suggest employees:

  • Use capital letters judiciously. Too many caps is like screaming online. And that makes people MADDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Avoid overdoing exclamation marks and other emphatic punctuation such as loads of dashes
  • Keep funny fonts and smiley/grumpy faces and icons for personal e-mail
  • Think of how an e-mail will read to someone who doesn’t know you personally. Your sense of humor may not always be clear via e-mail, and
  • Stick to black and blue fonts. Red fonts telegraph your impatience. Besides, they’re often hard to read.
  • Another reason to avoid all caps in e-mail content and subject lines: Many spam filters equate caps with spam.

    Julie Power is editor in chief of the Internet Marketing Report and she tweets at HRTraining and JuliePower.  She’s been guilty of sending e-mails that aren’t as funny as she thinks.

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