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Legal Secretary Sacked for Sending Personal Email from Work

Legal Secretary Sacked for Sending Personal Email from Work

Or, Yet Another Reason Why Your Work Computer Isn’t Really Yours

How many times have you sent personal email via your law firm email address, signed with your official law firm signature?

If we’re being honest, most of us likely have sent personal business correspondence from our work address at one time or another, but it’s never a good idea, as illustrated by the experience of Australian legal secretary, Vassie Seidel.
Seidel lost her job after e-mailing a complaint from work to organizers of the Australian-Italian Festival. Although she was not a permanent employee of Macdonnell’s Law, she still signed the email as an employee of the firm.

Seidel asked the festival organizers for her money back, but instead she was terminated for breaching the firm’s email policy. She told the Herald Sun, ‘I made a mistake and I sent a private email from my work account but to lose my job because someone at the festival office took offense is wrong. It’s vindictive.”
Whether the organizers brought her email to the attention of her employer or not, the bottom line is that she breached a personnel policy and suffered the harshest consequences for it, the loss of her legal secretarial position.
Seidel found out the hard way that your work computer isn’t really yours, but she’s young and likely won’t repeat this mistake at her next job.
The moral of this story: Know your employer’s policies regarding email usage – but even if the rules are liberal or nil, wait until you get home and then send personal correspondence from your personal email account.
Source: Herald Sun

3 Responses to Legal Secretary Sacked for Sending Personal Email from Work

  1. It's a shame that the legal secretaty lost her job but how many attorneys actually follow their own policy on e-mail. How do you reprimand an attorney for sending personal email from work?

  2. What a stupid girl.
    But honestly, getting sacked by Macdonnells is no mean feat. And is often a blessing.
    Bad workplace.
    (Worked there for a year – ugh!)

  3. I worked for major law firms the past 10 years. I can say they were looking for excuses to fire her. Most law firms will overlook violations of their policies in favor of certain politically desirables while nit picking for those who don't fit in quite right.

    If you don't attend their parties, contribute to charities, do the overtime or get along with every one, they will find any excuse to fire you. They don't need any reason to fire anyone either.

    Is she married, have a boyfriend? If not, is she deeply religious? If none applies and she sticks out in any way, they will find ways to get rid of such a person. Watch the movie The Firm since it reflects the nature of many law firms that view themselves as a family.

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Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

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