Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kaye v. Trustees of San Diego County Public Law Library (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 10, 2009)

Things were not happy at the San Diego County Public Law Library. Read the whole thing for a peek inside an office that was at least partially dysfunctional. Whether the result of one whacko staff member or a broader institutional problem is, of course, the genesis of the dispute.

Though I'll add that the individual employee -- Michael Kaye -- loses this case, on summary judgment at that, which may shed some light as to at least how some people see the thing.

More generally, this case is a concrete reminder that you should not -- I repeat, not -- send long, rambling e-mails to your work colleagues. Even about things that you think are deeply important and worthy of profound workplace discussion. Yes, it seems important at the time. Yes, you have really strong feelings on the topic, and really think that these issues need to be addressed. And trust me that I know it's so, so easy to just hit the "send" button.

But pause. Sleep on it. Take a fresh look at the proposed e-mail the next day. Ask a trusted friend to review it first. Make sure you really, really want to send it.

Doing that may well save your job. As I strongly suspect it would have saved Kaye's job here.