Before you send out a newsletter to your entire organization, you should probably double-check that your attachment isn't pornographic.

The Utah State Bar Association is currently "investigating" an incident where they sent out a photo of a topless woman to the entire email list. Matt Page, communications director, said that they are horrified and are investigating how this possibly could have happened.

Could it be that someone hacked them? Could it be a disgruntled employee? 

Sure, but any HR person who has been around the block at least once knows the answer: whoever attached the photo had naughty pictures on his (just guessing the gender here) computer and accidentally attached one.

Look, we HR types aren't telling you to keep your porn off the company computer because we're mean. On the contrary. We want to stop you from embarrassing yourself, and your organization. We also want to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits. And we want you to focus on your actual work not, ahem, other things.

Porn at work is not appropriate. Period. Porn after work on your work provided computer or smartphone is not appropriate. Porn on your own computer or smartphone that you use for work (in a BYOD environment) is not appropriate.

Do we all understand each other?

Hacking happens, for sure. Disgruntled employees happen, also for sure. But most likely this was a mistake made by someone who was doing things he ought not with the company computer.

One nice thing about the old days when work was work and home was home was that we didn't get casual about our work tools. But, when we carry the same phone to the office as we do to the club, and we use our laptops for running data and watching Netflix, we can sometimes forget that if we choose to view things that are not safe for work, we should not view them on our work equipment either.

First, let's please, as part of our annual harassment training, remind our employees that they should not be viewing porn in the workplace, let alone storing it on their computer. Nothing good ever comes from that.

Yes, we need to be, pardon the phrase, explicit when we tell people what is and what is not an appropriate use of their computers. You cannot just assume that everyone knows. People often think that because they have their "own" workplace computer and no one else uses it, it doesn't matter. They may think that as long as they are looking at it on the home WiFi, it doesn't matter. It does.

Remind people of this. 

Now, there's a chance that the Utah Bar Association was hacked, but most likely it was simply an accident by someone who needs a sexual harassment refresher course. I'm sure they have an employment attorney on their newsletter list that will be happy to provide that for them. Preferably now.

Published on: Mar 7, 2018