Ethics Watch: Think before you hit “send”

How many emails do you send every day? Find out here what happened when one employee emailed offensive material, and was reported for it.

The situation

We received a report from a third party that a Skanska employee had used his company computer to send an offensive email.

Findings

An investigation by our Ethics and Compliance Committee confirmed that the employee had indeed sent an offensive email from his Skanska email account. Furthermore, the investigation discovered that the employee and the recipient of the email were involved in a dispute over some personal business matters.

This was not the first time we received a report regarding such misuses of company computers or email. Skanska computers and email should never be used to send offensive or disparaging statements and images. People will have different views of what is offensive and disparaging, but clearly emailing discriminatory or derogatory statements fall into that category and should never be emailed from a Skanska account.

In this and another similar case, the employees were given warnings on the proper use of company property, which includes computers and email accounts.

Final thoughts

Skanska has an Electronic Communications Policy with the goals of:

• Preventing inappropriate and unprofessional communications, and illegal activity, over our computer and electronic communications systems; and

• Safeguarding the confidential and proprietary information and nature of our business.

The next time you write a potentially unprofessional email, it’s a good practice to hold it for a day before deciding whether to send it: emails are too easy to fire off in times of high emotional tension. Another suggestion is to call the person whom you are considering emailing: a conversation may be a lot more constructive than a potentially offensive email.

We must always be respectful and professional in all our communications.

Have an ethics question? Either talk to your supervisor, human resources or legal representative, or an ethics and compliance officer. To report an ethics breach, contact one of those professionals, call Skanska’s confidential ethics hotline at 877-516-3385 or use the ethics hotline link on OneSkanska.

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