Inappropriate email in the workplace...

This is in reference to “forwarded crap emails” (as I call them). I.e. pictures of rednecks doing redneck things, pictures of kittens, Top 10 reasons beer is better than women, etc etc etc. Usually, I delete this kind of stuff without even opening it.

Last Friday I recvd an email from a coworker who rarely, if ever, sends forwarded crap emails. The subject line said: “too good to not pass on…” then when you open the email it says “scroll down to see 4 majestic photos of breathtaking sunsets”…as I am amateur photog this sparked my interest. And indeed photos 1-3 were definitely of breathtaking sunsets. Photo #4 however was a very explicit photo of a woman performing oral sex on a man…in front of a beautiful sunset. I was completely shocked. Shocked to receive something like this @ work of all places and shocked that the sender, whom I’ve known for several years and consider a friend, would be stupid enough to send it!

I am 50/50 torn on what to do now. One part of me thinks I need to report this to our Office of Ethics in which case my coworker will most likely be fired. We work for a very conservative F100 insurance company with very strict rules on such stuff. The other part of me thinks since it came from a friend that I should just delete it and forget I ever saw it.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts…

If he’s a friend, and this does not seem typical of him, I’d reply saying that you are surprosed that he sent such an inappropriate email.

Get over it. Are you really that scared of sex that you are willing to get a friend fired?

  1. This is not for GQ, belongs in IMHO. Not a factual question.

  2. My suggestion is that you reply to the friend and ask not to send non-work-related email to your work email address, you don’t want to get in trouble for having this on your computer. If you do not feel that it was sexual harrassment or other intended offense, there is not really anything to be gained by tattling. But you can’t ignore it–let your friend know you don’t want any more like it.

Don’t be ridiculous. :rolleyes: This is not about being scared of sex. This is about what is appropriate in the workplace, and that email isn’t. You can love sex and still be offended by such images at work.

I never said I was affraid of the content. I was just shocked to receive it @ work!

Maybe he left his computer logged in and someone is trying to set your friend up. If he really is your friend you should at least talk to him before raising the issue with the boss. Also, double check the email address. I’ve known people to send out emails with fake addresses that look very similar to work emails addresses.

Lighten up Francis…

Maybe you should, you know, talk to him and see if he actually scrolled down to the last photo. He may have stopped at the first one or two and figured the rest were just the same. Possible.

Anyway, what’s the huge dilemma? Delete it and pretend you never scrolled down yourself.

Moved to In My Humble Opinion.

Gfactor, General Questions Moderator

Sorry for posting in the wrong place!

have you considered the possibility that your friend didnt know what he was sending you?
He may have seen 2 or 3 beautiful sunsets, and then decided “hey, I know my buddy snowblindfrog loves photography, so I’ll forward this to him.”
Maybe he didn’t bother to scroll down to the last , and only, pic which was pornographic.

And if you are willing to be the snitch who ruins the life of a “friend” by getting him fired over a minor prank—please think twice.
'Cause friends don’t let friends drive drunk… or get fired.

I would reply with something like “don’t send me stuff like this, you could get us both fired.” Considering the type of company you work for, the company email policy might technically require you to report misuse of the email system. I wouldn’t fault you for following the policy, but probably with a one-time thing and you clearly addressed it with the person, you wouldn’t get in serious trouble for not reporting it.

Humorous (to me, anyway) related anecdote: I once received something similar, but it got to me by mistake from someone I didn’t know at the company. I replied back “I’m pretty sure you didn’t mean to send this to me.”, with my email signature indicating that I worked in HR compliance. I like to imagine the look on the guy’s face when he saw that. He sent me an apology.

Not that you’ll get rid of it on corporate servers, but delete it out of your inbox AND your trash bin. If you choose to reply by email, do not send back the pictures. Personally, if someone did something this out of character, I’d prefer to talk to them face-to-face and keep it non-confrontational. “Dude, naughty pictures on work email = unemployment line. Be careful and please don’t send that stuff to my work email.” If you do want to see them, give him a personal email address and check them from home.

It was sent to mutilple people at the company besides me. I agree getting fired is a very harsh sentence for this petty lack of reasoning. Does he deserve a slap on the wrist though? Probably. I’ve decided to delete the email and forget about it. I was just trying to see if there was any real compelling reason for me to take the other course of action?

If he’s a friend, as you say in the OP, you’d be doing him a favor by warning him. You never know when one person on a distribution list is going to throw a fit - better to keep that out of the office.

Yeah, I’d let him know clearly that it wasn’t appreciated, and for very good reasons (i.e. the whole firing thing).

And the email itself reminds me of a picture I saw on the internet a while ago that had a beautiful girl in a bikini bending over away the camera with people riding in a boat behind her; the caption was that it was an optical illusion; if you looked hard enough, you could actually see a boat! :smiley:

I second the others in saying that if it were me, I would tal to him face-to-face. My first thought when you said that this is not typical of him was that perhaps it is a viral situation – he might not know what is going on with his email. Or it could be like another poster said that he saw the first couple pictures and passed it on thinking all 4 were the same. Honestly, deleting it is advisable, but if he is truly your friend, he deserves the benefit of the doubt and a brief face-to-face conversation.

“Hey, I read that email you sent me, and I deleted it – were you aware that it had a picture that could get us both fired in it? Since you don’t usually send those forwarded crap emails, it really shocked me, I figured you must have gotten virused or something – you might want to have it checked out.”

Something like that gives him the out of knowing not to ever forward stuff like that to you again without embarrassing him or making him feel like chit. Also, it gives you the opportunity to make it clear that you don’t want to receieve any kind of forwards. Meh…just my humble …what’s it called…oh, yeh, opinion.

Being the recipient of such e-mails, I’ll open them, laugh (if they’re funny), and just delete them. I’m not the sender’s boss and I’m not HR, and I’m never offended by these types of e-mails. There’s nothing I can do, short of being a child or a lame co-worker with a stick up his ass, that will change the situation.

I won’t be offended because a possibility exists that someone else may be offended. It’s not my job – there are people who fill those roles to worry about that stuff.

Nothing makes work suck more than when everyone’s a sensitivity cop.


Sorry, but if you work in the corporate/public world, you can get fired for this kind of thing, even being on the recieving end of it without reporting it. If someone had happened to walk past her office/cube/veal crate at that moment and seen it, odds are good she’d have been gone by the end of the day.

I vote: E-mail the person, ask if they bothered to scroll down to the last picture, then warn the person to NEVER SEND ME THIS SORT OF THING AGAIN.

I’ll also add that if someone was indeed offended by this and they chose to report him, that’s their business and there is not a thing wrong with that. The sender’s gotta take his lumps for being a dumbass at work.

If you get fired for receiving an perverse e-mail, they’re looking to get rid of you in the first place and will come up with any excuse. I’ve never seen any language in any company IT policy that says you must report such e-mails.