If there's one thing worse than firing someone over email, it's firing someone over email that you don't want to …
We've all made the occasional snafu with our email accounts from time to time. But while including the wrong person on an email can be embarrassing for the sender and surprising to the recipient, it's seldom as surprising as this: Financial firm Aviva Investors accidentally fired its entire staff by email.
The form-letter style email spelled out the requirements of the employees' confidentiality agreement, and included the line "I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and wish you all the best for the future." Of course, the email was meant for one specific person who was leaving the company, but an awkward computer mistake led to the message being sent to everyone in the company.
The electronic communique didn't specifically tell workers that they were fired, and after about a half hour, a second email went out apologizing for the mistake and clarifying that no one was fired. Still, for a lot of employees, those had to be a nerve-wracking couple of minutes considering that the U.K.-based Aviva announced earlier this year that it would be eliminating 160 positions — about 12% of its total workforce.
This is not the first time a problem with technology has led to someone being fired. In March, a Japanese man successfully sued Google after he was fired due to various criminal acts appearing next to his name via the search's auto-complete feature. And later that same month, a school teacher was fired for failing to hand over her Facebook password after the school district was unable to view the contents of her personal account.
[Image credit: Ed Yourdon]
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