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Mean Mail

You got someone else's mail-and it says you're a meathead.

W hat's a boss to do? You get an e-mail meant for someone else and open it. It's from one employee to another and it goes on and on about what a jerk you are. Do you pretend you never read it or sack the sender?

If you fire, you're within your rights, says Russell Gardner, a labor and employment attorney at Piper, Marbury, Rudnick & Wolfe in Baltimore: "If it got to you by mistake, and you opened it, then you don't have to continue to employ this person."

Courts have ruled that a corporate e-mail system is not private and companies can monitor e-mail, says Dave McClure, executive director of the US Internet Industry Association.

And if you do fire, don't tell the person via e-mail. No pink mail, please.


Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.

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This article was originally published in the May 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mean Mail.

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