41 members of staff at Royal & Sun Alliance have been suspended after an e-mail containing the cartoon character Bart Simpson was circulated around the company's Liverpool offices.
They have been suspended for breaching the company guidelines on 'misuse of the Internet' but the exact nature of the e-mail was not confirmed. This move was taken after a lengthy investigation had been carried out within the organisation covering non-work related e-mails that were being received by a company director.
This report follows that of an e-mail containing explicit personal correspondence between Norton Rose, a London law firm employee and his girlfriend was read by thousands of people after the employee forwarded a copy to friends.
Norton Rose stated that they had robust e-mail policies in place and issued their staff with a booklet providing guidance on IT security and the use of e-mail. Within employment contracts issued last month were also conditions on the use of e-mail within the organisation. Clear rules stated that employees are prohibited in sending or receiving non-work related material, in particular, obscene, discriminatory or defamatory material and junk mail.
Disciplinary proceedings are now facing the employee and six colleagues to whom he forwarded his girlfriends message.