Type Complaint Opinion 
Date 8/21/2003 
Number 03-05 
Topic Workplace speech - email 
Respondent Drennan, Honkompf 
Did the respondent's use of the legislative e-mail system to send and receive e-mails between them which contained language described in the complaint as "vulgar and obscene," constitute reasonable cause to blelieve there has been a violation of Rule 3 of the Legislative Ethics Act?
No.  the Board concluded the e-mails were inappropriate and ill-advised but that Board Rule 3 does not condemn "bad words," whatever those may be in someone's opinion.  The Board is reluctant to assume the role as the judge of the content of speech in the workplace.  Primary responsibility for discipline should reside in the employer.  The Board would consider amendments to Rule 3 if there is further evidence that this type of e-mail use was continuing unabated in either house of the legislature.  Complaint is dismissed for lack of reasonable cause.
Document View this publication in Acrobat (PDF) Format