Do you like seeing your coworkers' dirty laundry?

At least a half dozen times so far this year, email has gone around the office announcing that (for example) so-and-so’s grandmother passed away.

Two weeks ago the office bellringer announced that a coworker’s sister had been murderd (a shooting victim), leaving many people in the office feeling very creeped-out.

This morning’s email brings tabloid-flavored news of a coworker’s miscarriage.

This is classic dirty laundry, IMHO. Those people who are very close to expecting mother should have already known, or will know soon enough via personal channels. The office is not the place to broadcast your extremely personal life events. What is worse, I suspect that these public announcements were made without the knowledge of the affected individual. The reason I suspect this is that I just can’t imagine anybody calling up their supervisor and saying “could you please let everybody in the organization know that I had a miscarriage?”

Some things are better left on the grapevine.

I agree with you. I wouldn’t want to get emails of this sort, and I’d be extremely upset if my boss sent out this sort of information on me without my permission. I’m a very personal type, and I keep a lot of things to myself. My company only sends out this type of email if it’s the employee him/herself who passed away.

I understood “dirty laundry” to mean shameful secrets - these aren’t really shameful.

But from what you say it could be described as intrusive gossip. I think if the person affected is still at work (ie not taking leave) but are feeling extra sensitive, the most tactful thing to do would be to send round a message that they had “suffered a personal tragedy” and leave it at that.

An ex-coworker of mine milked every damn event in her family for sympathy, paid time off work, and an excuse for not doing anything in the office, let alone her own job. It ended up with no one trusting her, no one liking her - but not daring to speak out just in case - and then being hugely relieved when she eventually resigned.

I don’t think this stuff should be email material. I’ve been in a large office environment that passed sympathy cards around for signatures when someone lost a loved one. Never saw any email about the incidents. Thankfully.

I thought you were one of my cow-orkers complaining about my sweaty workout stuff. Hey! I’ve really been meaning to wash it one of these months!