Itâ€™s happened at countless workplaces across the country. Someone, on purpose or by accident, sends an email to the entire office and people start replyingâ€¦to every person on the list. Inevitably, angry co-workers also start replying to everyone, chiding those who hit â€œreply-all.â€ Inboxes overflow with message after message.
Annoying yes, but cause for disciplinary action?
It could be if you work at the State Department, which was recently hit by a similar scenario that got so bad it nearly crippled the departmentâ€™s unclassified email system. Now, according to a cable obtained by the Associated Press, senior department officials are threatening to punish anyone who uses the â€œreply-allâ€ function on emails to large distribution lists.
The cable, written by Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, did not define what disciplinary actions could be taken against those who decide to â€œreply allâ€ to emails.Â ButÂ he does instruct managers to tell their employees of â€œthe negative impact of hitting â€˜reply allâ€™â€ and directs employees to simply delete emails received in error rather than responding to them.
“Anyone who disregards these instructions will be subject to disciplinary actions,” Kennedy wrote. No word yet on whether anyone deiced to reply all to the boss.