Dow Chemical fires 50 over e-mail abuse

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From: Carey Lening (
Date: Tue Aug 01 2000 - 09:56:07 PDT

<Very Interesting setup. I've been seeing more and more of the mass firings
going on. I think whats so peculiar about this particular case is that they
fired so many. And they fired them under a very broad umbrella of
'pornography'. But 250 workers sanctioned is a huge number none the less.
It begs a few questions to be answered.
        1. How many of these individuals were actively a part of this
pornography thang vs. How many of them just got it in a mass spamming (I
think this more applies to
        the 200 than the 50).
        2. What do they call pornography? (They did define that there were
levels of pornography ("There was a whole range of things, from mild
pornography to very graphic pornography and some seriously violent
        3. They did look into and supposedly questioned the staff on this --
Why would a staff member refuse the 1 year probationary thing in lieu of
being terminated?
        This is a psychological puzzle to me.
Crazy stuff none the less, I'm just shocked people haven't become wise on
the fact that they can't transmit naughty images at the workplace.. -BB>

Dow Chemical fires 50 over e-mail abuse
DETROIT (AP) - An investigation by The Dow Chemical Co. of employee e-mail
found that people at all levels of the plastics and chemicals manufacturer
had sent pornography and violent images from company computers, leading to
the firing of 50 workers and the disciplining of 200 others.
''We're not talking about personal uses of the computers and letters to
mom,'' said Eric Grates, spokesman for Dow's Michigan Operations. ''There
was a whole range of things, from mild pornography to very graphic
pornography and some seriously violent images.''


The investigation by the nation's No. 2 chemical company was sparked by an
employee complaint in May. The Midland, Mich.-based company does not monitor
e-mail on a regular basis, Grates said.


But a local union said the firings may not be fair.
''The union obviously doesn't condone or appreciate the material that may
have been sent across the e-mail system,'' said Kent Holsing, vice president
of the United Steelworkers of America local 12075. ''But we believe the
punishment may not fit the crime.''
Roughly 20 members of the Steelworkers were fired and 42 suspended. The
union will investigate the firings to determine if legal action is
necessary, Holsing said.
''The community and neighbors and friends and family of these people are
being looked at as social deviants for sending pornography,'' Holsing said.
''Not everyone sent pornography.''

Dow Chemical interviewed each employee before taking action, Grates said.
Employees who simply opened e-mails and deleted them were not in trouble, he
The problem was those who downloaded, saved and distributed objectionable
subject matter, he said.
After Dow finished its audit in early June, a review board determined the
punishment, which could range from reprimands to suspension or firing.
All Dow workers who were suspended agreed to a special one-year probationary
period. Those who would not agree to the conditions of the probation were
fired, Grates said.
Last March, employees were sent books that outlined company policies,
including the prohibition of computer use for personal and objectionable
subject matter, he said.
''It specifically discusses what is and is not tolerated,'' Grates said.
Dow announced July 7 that it was investigating the use of its computers and
e-mail system. Firing employees for accessing pornographic Web sites and
distributing offensive e-mail messages is not confined to Dow Chemical.
Copyright 2000 Associated Press </leadpage/credit/credit.htm>. All rights
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