As a director for the American Red Cross of Santa Monica, not only am I constantly faced with policy and personnel conflicts, I am also responsible for finding solutions to those conflicts. Recently, I was charged with the task of finding a solution to a problem we (as a chapter) had never dealt with before.
The American Red Cross is an apolitical organization. During the recent elections, a supervisor in my office sent out emails to many of our colleagues and her friends stating her opinion regarding Proposition 22 (the proposition referring to the status of gay relationships). She was strongly against the issue, and was encouraging everyone to get out and vote against this proposition.
The supervisor used her email account at the American Red Cross of Santa Monica to get her message out. Each employee’s email account identifies the Red Cross of Santa Monica in its address. Although the supervisor was acting as a concerned citizen and by no means meant to make her statements as a Red Cross representative, that is exactly how many people who received the message took it. Red Cross clients, volunteers, and staff complained about this supervisor using her Red Cross email to send out her political message.
The supervisor made two very large mistakes. Firstly, she sent out a personal message on her company email account. Secondly, she sent that message to business associates, not just friends.
The Red Cross of Santa Monica management made two large mistakes as well. Firstly, we had not developed an email/internet policy. Secondly, management would have not known about the situation if people had not complained. There is no monitoring system in plac...
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American Red Cross. Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual.
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Thomas Lee, Laurie. “Watch Your E-mail. Monitoring and Privacy Law in the
Age of the Electronic Sweatshop.” 28 John Marshall Law Review 139
Turner Baumhart, Julia. “The Employer’s Right to Read Employee E-mail:
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