It’s recently been reported that a former interim chief executive of an NHS Trust was unfairly dismissed for sending a high volume of inappropriate emails, including personal ones, and not taking action when receiving inappropriate emails.
The Employment Tribunal felt that the emails were “largely innocent; at or below the level of seaside postcard humour”. It went on to highlight that over a two year period, the emails contained 12 expletives and the f-word appeared six times. As such, the Tribunal felt that this reflected language “in common everyday usage throughout industry, commerce, voluntary organisations and public authorities”.
I have never used the F word in an email. And those who know me, know that I don’t shy from verbally expressing my anger by using expletives (but not quite as fluently as Gordon Ramsey). But I think a line is crossed when it’s written in an email.
Equally, I have never seen an email in over a decade of working in or with the NHS that contained the F word. And if I did, I’m not sure what I would do.
So I’m not so sure I agree with the Tribunal’s opinion that using the F word six times in two years in an email is a reflection of everyday usage in business.
Am I wrong?