Document for Analysis: Information E-Mail
Your Task. Analyze the following email message. It suffers from many writing faults. List its
specific weaknesses. If your instructor directs, revise it.
To: Ceresa Rothery email@example.com
From: Paul Rouse firstname.lastname@example.org
I went to the Workplace Issues Conference on November 3, as you suggested. The topic was
how to prevent workplace violence, and I found it very fascinating. Although we have been
fortunate to avoid serious incidents at our company, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Since I was
the representative from our company and you asked for a report, here it is. Susan Sloan was the
presenter, and she made suggestions in three categories, which I will summarize here.
Ms. Sloan cautioned organizations to prescreen job applicants. As a matter of fact, wise
companies do not offer employment until after a candidate’s background has been checked. Just
the mention of a background check is enough to make some candidates withdraw. These
candidates, of course, are the ones with something to hide.
A second suggestion was that companies should prepare a good employee handbook that outlines
what employees should do when they suspect potential workplace violence. This handbook
should include a way for informers to be anonymous.
A third recommendation had to do with recognizing red-flag behavior. This involves having
companies train managers to recognize signs of potential workplace violence. What are some of
the red-flags? One sign is an increasing number of arguments (most of them petty) with
coworkers. Another sign is extreme changes in behavior or statements indicating depression over
family or financial problems. Another sign is bullying or harassing behavior. Bringing a firearm
to work or displaying an extreme fascination with firearms is another sign.
By the way, the next Workplace Issues conference is in January and the topic is the employee
I think that the best recommendation is prescreening job applicants. This is because it is the most
feasible. If you want me to do more research on prescreening techniques, do not hesitate to let
me know. Let me know by November 18 if you want me to make a report at our management
meeting, which is scheduled for December 3.
Document for Analysis: Request Memo
Your Task. Analyze the following memo. List its weaknesses. If your instructor directs, revise it.
To: All employees
From: Kim Albano, Human Resources
Subject: NEW PLAN
In the past we’ve offered all employees 11 holidays (starting with New Year’s Day in January
and proceeding through Christmas Day the following December). Other companies offer similar
In addition, we’ve given all employees one floating holiday. As you know, we’ve determined
that day by a company-wide vote. As a result, all employees had the same day off. Now,
however, management is considering a new plan that we feel could be better. This new plan
involves a floating holiday that each individual employee may decide for herself or himself.
We’ve given it considerable thought and decided that such a plan could definitely work. We
would allow each employee to choose a day that he or she wants. Of course, we would have to
issue certain restrictions. Selections would have to be subject to our staffing needs within
individual departments. For example, if everyone wanted the same day, we could not allow
everyone to take it. In that case, we would allow the employee with the most seniority to have
the day off.
Before we institute the new plan, though, we wanted to see what employees thought about this.
Is it better to continue our current companywide uniform floating holiday? Or should we try an
individual floating holiday? Please let us know what you think as soon as possible.
Document for Analysis: Confirmation E-Mail
Your Task. Analyze the following e-mail message. List its weaknesses. If your instructor directs,
To: David Ricci, email@example.com
From: Jillian Ann Brody, JillianAnnBrody@aol.com
Subject: OUT RECENT TALK
Dear Mr. Ricci:
It was good to talk to you on the telephone yesterday (December 2) after exchanging letters with
you and after reading so much about Bermuda. I was very interested in learning about the
commercials you want me to write. As I understand it, Mr. Ricci, you want a total of 240 one-
minute radio commercials. These commercials are intended to rejuvenate the slumping tourist
industry in Bermuda. You said that these commercials would be broadcast from March 30
through June 30. You said these commercials would be played on three radio stations. These
stations are in five major cities on the East Coast. The commercials would be aimed at morning
and evening drive time, for drivers who are listening to their radios, and the campaign would be
called “Radio Bermuda.”
I am sure I can do as you suggested in reminding listeners that Bermuda is less than two hours
away. You expect me to bring to these commercials the color and character of the island. You
want me to highlight the attractions and the civility of Bermuda, at least as much as can be done
in one-minute radio commercials. In my notes I wrote that you also mentioned that I should
include references to tree frogs and royal palm trees. Another item you suggested that I include
in some of the commercials was special Bermuda food, such as delicacies like shark on toast,
conch fritters, and mussel stew.
I wanted to be sure to write these points down so that we both agreed on what we said in our
telephone conversation. I am eager to begin working on these commercials immediately, but I
would feel better if you looked over these points to see if I have it right. I look forward to
working with you.
Jillian Ann Brody
Information E-Mail of Memo: Driving Less and Breathing Easier
The air in your city has been getting progressively worse over the years. Your company, Mercer
Enterprises, just received another announcement from the Air Quality Management District
(AQMD). To reduce air pollution, the AQMD is requiring all big employers to offer incentives
that encourage employees to participate in the AQMD’s Trip Reduction Plan. If your company
can’t get a significant number of employees to share rides, take the bus, or ride a bicycle to work,
it faces huge fines.
After studying what other large companies were doing. Mercer developed a number of
incentives to entice employees to leave their cars at home. One incentive offers employees who
maintain a 75 percent rate of participation in the ride-share program for a period of six months
one full work-day off with pay. This incentive begins May 1. Other incentives include
preferential parking near building entrances. These special parking places are for car pools only,
and a parking pass is required. Another incentive involves bus passes. Employees who use public
transportation will receive a subsidy of $25 per month. Employees will also get a free round-trip
transit pass for the first month. This pass applies only to workplace commuting, of course.
Employees receiving this memo might want more information about the program. They
may also want to sign up for the incentives mentioned here. If so, they should contact Jennifer
O’Toole (Jennifer.Otoole@mercer.com) before June 1.
Another incentive is the provision of a subsidy for van pools. The company will help
obtain a van and will provide a $150 per month subsidy to the van pool. What’s even more
terrific is that the van-pool driver will have unlimited personal use of the vehicle off company
time. A final subsidy involves bicycles. Employees who bicycle to work will receive $25 per
month as a subsidy. And Mercer Enterprises will provide bicycle racks, locks, and chains.
Your Task. As employee transportation coordinator for your company, send an e-mail or memo
to all employees describing the incentives offered by Mercer to comply with the Air Quality
Management District’s Trip Reduction Plan. You can improve readability of your message by
using graphic highlighting for the incentives.
Information E-Mail or Memo: Planning for Important Milestone
Staff members in your office were disappointed that no holiday party was given last year. They
don’t care what kind of party it is, but they do want some kind of celebration this year.
Your Task. You have been asked to draft a message to the office staff about the upcoming
December holiday party. Decide what kind of party you would like. Include information about
where the party will be held, when it is, what the cost will be, what kind of food will be served,
whether guests are allowed, and with whom to make reservations.
Procedure E-Mail or Memo: Parking Guidelines With a Smile
As Adelle Justice, director of Human Resources, you must remind both day-shift and swing-shift
employees of the companies parking guidelines. Day-shift employees must park in Lots A and B
in their assigned spaces. If they have not registered their cars and received their white stickers,
the cars will be ticketed.
Day-shift employees are forbidden to park at the curb. Swing-shift employees may park
at the curb before 3:30 p.m. Moreover, after 3:30 p.m., swing-shift employees may park in any
empty space – except those marked Tandem, Handicapped, Van Pool, Car Pool, or Management.
Day-shift employees may loan their spaces to other employees if they know they will not be
One serious problem is lack of registration (as evidenced by white stickers). Registration
is done by Employee Relations. Any car without a sticker will be ticketed. To encourage
registration, Employee Relations will be in the cafeteria May 12 and 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30
p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to take applications and issue white parking stickers.
Your Task. Write a procedure e-mail or memo to employees that review the parking guidelines
and encourages them to get their cars registered. Use itemization techniques, and strive for a tone
that fosters a sense of cooperation rather than resentment.
Confirmation Memo or E-Mail: Did I Hear This Correctly?
At lunch one day you had a stimulating discussion with Jayne Moneysmith, an attorney
specializing in employment risk management. You are a manager with a growing brokerage firm
that employs more than 250 employees. All employees except top managers are “at will”
employees without employment contracts. Your company has an extensive set of procedures and
policies regarding sexual harassment. But it has no e-mail policies.
Ms. Moneysmith told you that in certain instances e-mail transmissions can constitute
hostile-environment sexual harassment. Although an e-mail message is not a “verbal statement”
uttered by an alleged harasser face to face, it can cross the legal line. If the message is severe and
adversely affects the receiver’s work environment, the message could constitute actionable
sexual harassment. Even deleted messages can come back to haunt the company in employment
discrimination cases. E-mails leave a “meta data” trail leaving detachments, dates and times of
edits and transmissions, file size, conversation threads, and document file paths.
These attributes ensure that any inappropriate behavior conducted via an employer’s digital
technology will leave a permanent record. She said that “at will” employees who send
inappropriate messages or pornographic materials can legally be terminated if the circumstances
suggest an outright dismissal is appropriate.
Your Task. You would like to report Ms. Moneysmith’s remarks at the next management council
meeting. Before you do, however, you want to be sure that you heard her accurately. Write a
memo or e-mail to Mr. Moneysmith condensing and confirming the major points she covered.