Wednesday, March 7, 2018

“Measure twice, cut once," and, for the love of God, don’t email porn to everyone on your company’s contact list

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash
In what may be the greatest (or, depending on your perspective, worst) employee mistake of all time, the Utah State Bar emailed a photo of a topless woman to more than 11,000 of its members.

For its part, the Bar has apologized, and has said it is investigating how the incident occurred and will publicize its findings.

Speculation on the cause of the unfortunate email ranges from hackers to a disgruntled employee.

It’s neither.

Readers, let me break this case for you.

This is nothing more than a good ol’ fashioned mistake, or a series of mistakes.

Employee has porn on his work computer (Mistake no. 1.)

He is tasked with sending an email to all of the organization’s members regarding its spring convention.

Part of that email was to be an attached flyer.

Employee attaches a file to the email that he thinks is the flyer. It’s not; it’s the porn image. (Mistake no. 2.)

He then clicks “send,” without realizing his error and without checking to see if he attached the correct image. (Mistake no. 3).

I’ll be floored if the investigation reveals anything different.

So, what lessons can we learn from this unfortunate story. 

First, let’s please, as part of our annual harassment training, remind our employees that they should not be viewing porn in the workplace, let alone storing it on their computer. Nothing good ever comes from that.

Secondly, let’s remind our employees to slow down. Yes, we are all busy, and, yes, we are all under a lot of pressure to complete a lot of tasks on a daily basis. But, as if often the case, it’s so much better to get it right than to get it done.

Yes, emailing porn to everyone on your employer’s mailing list is not great, but it could have been so much worse. Imagine if, instead of an image of a topless woman, it was a confidential business plan, or the employer’s financial records.

“Measure twice, cut once” applies to just about anything anyone does at work. A simple double checking of the attachment could have saved everyone involved a whole lot of embarrassment.

Or, this employee simple could have kept his porn at home. Just sayin’.