UK employees' worst crimes found in their work inbox

Just under half of the employers have found ‘unacceptable’ material and messages in their employees’ work inbox, such as inappropriate images and talking negatively about colleagues.

This survey was conducted by CV-Library, a job board based in the UK, which found that 45 per cent of employers have found such material in their staff’s inbox.

The list below shows what ‘unacceptable’ things were found in employees’ inboxes:

  • Inappropriate images, 72 per cent
  • Talking negatively about colleagues, 56 per cent
  • Job applications to other employers, 49 per cent
  • Flirty emails with colleagues, 34 per cent
  • Complaining about your job, 32 per cent
  • Talking negatively about your boss, 26 per cent
  • Online shopping orders, 26 per cent
  • Personal emails to friends and family, 8 per cent


Sectors reacted differently to certain emails sent by employees. The public sector found inappropriate images to be the worst crime, where as the legal industry believed talking negatively about colleagues was seen as the most ‘unacceptable’ with education showing the most disdain to job applications to other employers.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said:

Your employees would have to be pretty brave to let any of these emails sit in their work inbox. In an increasingly digitalised world, we can’t afford to become complacent about what we’re sending over email. Professional conduct in the workplace is just as important online as it is offline.

You have every right to discipline your employees if you find them sending any of these horrors. Take action before the email causes serious damage to your company’s professional reputation, as these have a habit of coming to light in nasty ways.

No matter what industry your company operates in you shouldn’t tolerate these emails as it reflects badly on your company. Once an employee breaks your trust, issue a written warning and make it clear it can’t happen again. If it continues to happen, however, strict measures such as suspension or termination may be the only course of action.

CV-Library asked 300 employers from across the UK to collate these results.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.