HOUSTON — Dow Chemical Co. plans to fire about 40 employees for allegedly violating the company's e-mail policy by circulating violent or sexually explicit material.
Dow says the firings follow a review of 6,000 e-mail accounts conducted after a worker complained about offensive e-mail. A similar review this year at Dow's headquarters in Midland, Mich., led to 50 firings.
Other employees at the plant in Freeport, south of Houston, face suspensions or reprimands, Dow spokeswoman Kanina Blanchard told the Houston Chronicle in Tuesday's editions.
A union official termed the firings a "witch hunt."
"One person was harassed, so they downloaded everybody's e-mail," said Charlie Singletary, business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 564. "I think they wanted to make this worse than it is. I think they wanted to terminate people."
He said most of the material was off-color jokes, nude pictures and photos of car wrecks. Some of the employees were unaware of Dow's policies, while others didn't take them seriously, he added.