HP fires, suspends 150 U.K. workers over improper e-mail

Hewlett-Packard Co. confirmed late Wednesday that it has fired and suspended some of its employees in the U.K. for violating the company's e-mail usage policy.

"HP in the U.K. is currently investigating the misuse of the company e-mail system that contravenes its internal policy for all employees," said spokeswoman Monica Sarkar in an e-mail response to questions from Computerworld. "This matter involves the viewing and sharing of unauthorized and inappropriate material, and is being addressed with the utmost urgency through HP's internal investigatory procedures."

While other published reports said two employees were fired from offices in Scotland, Sarkar would only confirm that "a small number of permanent employees have been dismissed to date."

According to its Web site, HP has offices in Glasgow and South Queensferry. The Glasgow office was affiliated with Compaq Computer Corp. before its merger with HP.

In addition, "approximately 60 permanent employees and approximately 90 contract staff have been suspended," she said in the e-mail. Most of the contract staff has been removed from HP offices, Sarkar said.

She wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the improper e-mails but indicated that the messages might have been offensive to some employees.

The internal investigations are still under way, Sarkar said, and may result in further disciplinary action.

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