What HR can learn from those hella-dumb DNC leadership emails.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, official photo portrait, color

About a year ago, I had a post entitled, The “E” in E-Mail stands for Exhibit. As in Exhibit A. Here’s a snippet:

As part of my respect-in-the-workplace training,  I tell employees and managers that bad e-mails are like dirty diapers: they stink and they never go away.

Yeah, about that…

[cue music — close enough]

DNC leadership finds out the hard way.

Over the weekend, I was hitting refresh like a maniac on this developing CNN.com story from Jeff Zeleny, Eric Bradner and John King. On Friday, Wikileaks, which brands itself as specializing in the “analysis and publication of large datasets of censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption,” released nearly 20,000 e-mails from the Democratic National Committee. The CNN.com report highlights a few of the Democratic National Committee emails that especially stank:

One email appears to show DNC staffers asking how they can reference Sanders’ faith to weaken him in the eyes of Southern voters. Another seems to depict an attorney advising the committee on how to defend Hillary Clinton against an accusation by the Sanders campaign of not living up to a joint fundraising agreement.

Andrea Germanos at Common Dreams details some of the other problem emails here.

The immediate fall-out was that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz would not speak at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. [Editor’s Note: If you are going to be in town for the convention, and want to meet up, please email me. I’m around.] But, as momentum built, CNN.com reported that Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday that she is stepping down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the end of the party’s convention.

What does this have to do with your business? A lot.

Let’s go back to my year-old blog post, where the chickens came home to roost in the form of decade-old emails of a plaintiff’s boss, which the court concluded would support the plaintiff’s discrimination claims. Similarly, the weekend DNC kerfuffle involved bad emails from leadership.

So, at your next meeting with the decisionmaker, remind them:

  1. Your email policy applies to them too especially
  2. Think before you hit send
  3. Oftentimes, telephone > email
Image Credit: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons