Worst HR email gaffes

by Stephanie Zillman17 May 2013

According to a recent survey, most executives have committed a common e-mail blunder, and the embarrassing results have ranged from mild awkwardness to full-on humiliation.

Some 78% of execs have mistakenly sent an e-mail to the wrong address, according to a survey by The Creative Group. The respondents also reported the biggest e-mail gaffes they’ve ever seen — or made — at work, including:

  • sending someone’s salary information to the entire company

  • giving a job offer to the wrong person

  • writing a nasty comment about a supervisor, then accidentally sending it to said supervisor

  • calling a co-worker an “idiot” to the entire company

  • accidentally sending an internal memo about “restroom etiquette” to a potential client

It’s a dilemma of the modern age, so take note of the following tips to avoid e-mail embarrassment:

1. Don’t multi-task while writing important e-mail messages. Give writing your undivided attention.

2. Keep the “To:” box blank until the end, then careful choose the distribution list.

3. Review it on a big screen when you can, instead of sending an important message from a smartphone or other hand-held device.

4. Never send an e-mail when you’re angry. You can try writing, but wait until you’ve calmed down to send it.


  • by Clara Pound 17/05/2013 5:43:16 PM

    I had a staff member who didn't like me. He thought he was sending an email to his girlfriend telling her some not so nice things about me.... The email mistakenly turned up in my in box. Oops - he was very embarrassed and apologetic! I received confirmation about something which I already knew.