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Rolls-Royce emailers' jobs still in jeopardy

Allegedly "inapproporiate" emails may lead to sackings

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Fourteen staff at Rolls-Royce Aerospace Group are still waiting to hear whether they will keep their jobs after they were suspended more than a fortnight ago for allegedly sending email that contained "inappropriate material". A spokesman for Rolls Royce would not disclose the exact details of what constituted "inappropriate material" but said that the company took such allegations of misconduct very seriously. He said that the disciplinary hearings were "nearing completion" and in the event of an extreme breach of company guidelines, he confirmed that it was possible that an employee could be sacked over the affair. The suspended staff are among 5000 people who work at Rolls Royce's Patchway offices near Bristol. The story, which was leaked to the Bristol Evening Post last week highlights a growing problem of email and Internet abuse among companies and large organisations. With Net access commonplace in many offices keeping track of exactly what employees get up to during the day is becoming increasingly difficult. "It is a problem," said David Kerr, CE of the Internet Watch Foundation. "This is something where companies need to tighten up on their disciplinary guidelines to try and prevent this kind of thing from happening," he said. Earlier this year a man who was accused of sexual harassment after a colleague used his email address to send a saucy message to a female executive at a Bible society won his case for breach of contract. ®

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