TXU defends sacking of email joker

MEMBERS of the personnel department at TXU Energy have today defended their decision for sacking a senior manager who sent a racist and sexist e-mail.Representatives of TXU Energy said that all the employees were aware of their electronic communications policy and guidelines which states that staff are prohibited from accessing or attempting to access messages deemed to be offensive.

By Georgina James

MEMBERS of the personnel department at TXU Energy have today defended their decision for sacking a senior manager who sent a racist and sexist e-mail.

Representatives of TXU Energy said that all the employees were aware of their electronic communications policy and guidelines which states that staff are prohibited from accessing or attempting to access messages deemed to be offensive.

Defending the company's decision to sack Mr Clarke, Brian England, HR Manager for retail said: "Having seen the e-mail I decided that it was of such a serious nature that I needed to call a meeting with Bob Clarke. In my opinion it looked as though it was very serious and that we would need to follow the incident up with a disciplinary hearing.

"TXU treat sexism and racism very seriously and we do not sweep such matters under the carpet but we have very high standards.

"In my view once an e-mail has been sent on the network you never know who it is going to reach or who it is going to offend."

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Mr Clarke who was sacked from his £98,000 a year job as National Sales Manager based in Ipswich, claimed he did not know that sending such e-mails was against the rules.

Mr Clarke was sacked after sending a 'joke' e-mail which denigrated Arab women. The tribunal earlier heard that the company offered Mr Clarke £25,000 if he resigned.

Lesley Garwood an HR advisor at TXU said: "I know Mr Clarke knew of the existence of our electronic communications policy as on or around January 4 this year we received an employment tribunal claim from a former TXU direct sales member of staff alleging sex discrimination and victimisation. Amongst other things allegations suggested that inappropriate text messages were being sent by a male member of staff. Mr Clarke had read this complaint and was aware of the nature of the text messages."

Mr Clarke is taking his former employers to an employment tribunal for breach of contract of unfair dismissal.

The hearing continues.

Crisis-hit TXU have embarked on an advertising campaign to say "it is business as usual" as uncertainty about its future mounts. The energy giant dropped another dollar on the New York Stock Exchange to close yesterday at $10.88 – a quarter of their value on October 1.

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