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New electronic communication technologies are being introduced to the workplace everyday presenting amazing opportunities to improve productivity and enhance our lives. Now e-mail, the fastest, most versatile and powerful communications tool ever has arrived, and with it, a complex array of legal and interpersonal questions. To help sort through the electronic mail maze, Quality Media Resources (QMR) of Bellevue, Wash., has released e-mail essentials - Legal and Appropriate Use of e-mail.

Harassment appears on-line wearing a variety of disguises. Employment discrimination issues are surfacing. Organizations are struggling with what is considered appropriate or inappropriate personal use of a business communications tool such as e-mail. What (if any) privacy can we expect from this technology? What are the legal liability issues?

Organizations and individual employees are facing litigation arising out of illegal use of their e-mail systems. Messages assumed deleted are being discovered in backup tapes and elsewhere by high- tech detectives and used as evidence in lawsuits. Productivity that is supposed to be enhanced by e-mail's speed and power is, many times, negatively impacted as employees use the technology for personal communication, to run private businesses, to send jokes to co-workers (some of which are inappropriate or offensive) or to "flame" those they don't like.

One way organizations are beginning to address these issues is by introducing employee training on the legal and appropriate use of their e-mail systems. In their new video, e-mail essentials, QMR uses dramatized vignettes and a panel of legal, human resources and technology experts to help employees sort out what is and is not acceptable.

Government agencies face additional issues with their electronic mail. Documents that address policy questions must be preserved as public records. Does this mean the public has a right to look at any government employee's e-mail? QMR has created a public sector version of their video that addresses these issues in addition to the private sector program.

Quality Media Resources, founded five years ago, has produced 25 video training programs designed to help organizations foster respectful workplace relationships and deal effectively with the rapid changes brought on by the advancements in technology. The company and its programs have experienced significant market success and have won numerous national and international awards. Product is actively being distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines.

For more information about QMR and the legal and appropriate use of e-mail, please contact the program's writer/producer, Robert Rosell at (206) 455-0558, or Quinn/Brein at (206) 842-8922.

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