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Bosses Blow Top Over Claire Swire Email

December 20, 2000

A number of employers have, or are considering, suspending staff over the distribution of a sexually explicit email featuring the exploits of the now legendary Claire Swire and Bradley Chait.

Bosses have apparently found having their firm's name associated with the email difficult to swallow - resulting in action against staff who helped distribute it.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has suspended nine staff for breaching company guidelines on email abuse, while solicitors Norton Rose has also initiated disciplinary action.

The FSA has suspended nine workers until the New Year after they forwarded the intimate email on to friends outside of the organisation. An internal probe could result in more suspensions, while staff who forwarded the message within the organisation only have been reprimanded.

Under the FSA's guidelines for email use, any documents sent from within the FSA could be classed as a regulatory document, meaning that the organisation has to operate strict email policies. "As a regulator anything we send out can be construed as a regulating document," said an FSA spokesman.

The news may set a precedent for others party to the distribution of the email - staff may be spending their holidays wondering if a little office light relief may come back to haunt them.

In a statement, the Trades Union Congress warned that personal use of email is becoming a thing of the past, because any emails might be electronically scanned for "obscene, indecent, racist or illegal remarks".

The author of the sexually explicit email, Claire Swire, is still in hiding, following a nationwide media hunt for her. Bradley Chait, who circulated the email from its source at law firm Norton Rose, also faces disciplinary action.

Earlier in the week insurance firm Royal & SunAlliance suspended 40 staff from its Liverpool office after they accidentally circulated a smutty image to a director.

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