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Illicit e-mails that led to firings to be public

May 11, 2002

The state Department of Labor and Industries will release to the public thousands of sexually explicit and otherwise inappropriate e-mails that led to the termination of six workers, under a settlement reached with a union yesterday.

After a yearlong investigation, six workers were recently fired over the e-mails. Another was demoted and an eighth received a temporary pay cut.

Late last month, the Washington Federation of State Employees asked the Thurston County Superior Court to block the release of the e-mails to the media. The union's spokesman there was no public interest in releasing all of the ugly details.

The two sides agreed to details of the settlement as they waited for a hearing yesterday morning.

Under the deal, e-mails sent and received by the eight workers will be released after all other workers' names are removed.

"We would have liked to have stopped release of the content, but that was probably not likely," union spokesman Tim Welch said.

The department released e-mails by one of the workers last month before the union petitioned the court. Before those messages were released, the department removed the names of non-disciplined employees.

"We're OK (with the settlement) because that's the way we've been releasing them," said Eva Santos, the department's deputy director.

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