Oops... infamous email exchanges

The Employment Relations Authority has ordered a sacked worker be reinstated after finding the emails that led to his dismissal were part of a wider workplace culture of banter.

We look back at other infamous emails that made news headlines:

December, 2007: A Warehouse worker was fired after posting comments about her workplace on the social networking website Bebo. Deena Pawson post said "work sux" and working until midnight was "gay like the management".

But when Ms Pawson's boss read the comments she was fired for serious misconduct, claiming the online comments had brought The Warehouse into disrepute.

December, 2007: A catering company manager told a customer, "You were probably bottle feed till late teens", in an angry email exchange that has now gone around the country.

Margaret McHugh of the Gourmet Food Store in Auckland also told Hayley Johnstone, an accounts and event manager at Ray White in Auckland, "I expect you still believe in Santa Clause". The angry exchange came after a query about the cost of chocolate strawberries.

August, 2007: University lecturer Dr Paul Buchanan was fired after he sent an email to a student refusing an extension. The first email Dr Buchanan sent was supportive but in a follow-up he wrote: "I say this reluctantly but not so subtly: you are not suitable for a graduate degree. It does not matter if your father died or if you have a medical certificate."

The email continued: "The extension is meaningless because you have not attended the last few classes and are the worse performer in the class."

Dr Buchanan later apologised to the student before he was fired by the University of Auckland. He took his case to the employment court and won damages and was re-instated.

November, 2006: The Great Marquee company apologised to a bride-to-be and her fiance after an employee sent them an abusive email describing their wedding plans as "cheap, nasty and tacky" and said the couple was not suitable for their marquees, which were intended for "upper class clients". The email advised them to go to Payless Plastics instead. The employee who sent the email was fired.

October 2006: Law clerk Craig Dale received world wide media attention after he sent an email to a colleague proposing a relationship he referred to as "friends with benefits".

"Really I thought you were hot and was sure you'd be a rocket in the sack, which I think you would be."

Dale's email was sent around the world with a "loser alert" from Azadeh Bashari saying: "If you ever have the misfortune of meeting this little charmer, run, run, run!!! Don't let him fool you with his "ultimate nice guy charm" or his offers to take you on "coffee and David Hasslehoff long walks along the beach"."


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