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Email peril as fat finger strikes at Aviva

[26 April 2012] Dontcha just love email’s ability to communicate with hordes of employees at the click of a button? Especially when you want to sack ’em?­­

That’s what happened recently at Aviva Investors, the insurance company’s asset management arm, where job cuts arising from restructuring had been mooted for a while.

More than 1,300 staff received a blanket email from the HR department instructing them all to head for the exit, handing over company property and security passes on their way out. Yes, it was going to be P45s in every inbox: the end. 

The email also wished staff all the best for the future and said:

‘I am required to remind you of your contractual obligations to the company you are leaving. You have an obligation to retain any confidential information pertaining to Aviva Investors operations, systems and clients.’

(We do like an occasional ‘pertaining’.)

Except it wasn’t quite true.

HR had meant to send the ‘You’re fired’ missive to just one unlucky miscreant, not the whole workforce.

An apologetic message covered in smiley faces soon arrived. Phew. Drinks all round – nearly.

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