Leaders say inappropriate email sent from Men’s Shelter worker should be a wake up call

Employee disciplined over email joke

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An email got the attention of leaders of Roof Above. That agency runs the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte.

Last Friday, an employee sent an email to more than 100 workers with a meme of men holding guns with the caption that was supposed to read “looters will be shot on the spot.”

This message came at the time when protests were happening over George Floyd’s death by a police officer. We are told workers were disgusted a co-worker would send a violent message like that to all. Leaders say the worker sent it as a Friday Fun, but Kenny Colbert believes that was nothing to laugh at.

“What you may think is funny or what you may think is cute will offend people,” The Employers Association Pres. & CEO Kenny Colbert said. “So we have to remind employers to remind employees don’t send these things out.”

Colbert helps train more than 900 companies in the Charlotte area. He says he has to send out reminders to his clients at least twice a year about sending offensive emails.

“Employers would be wise to remind their employees be sensitive about what’s going on around you,” Colbert said. “Don’t do anything that would create controversy.”

Colbert said he was alarmed the message came from a work email. He says there is usually policy about what workers can and cannot send through work email. He also says people who get caught doing something like this aren’t thinking.

“90 percent of the time it’s the same answer,” Colbert said. “I thought it was funny. I didn’t think it would offend anyone, but after you have pointed it out to me - I can see where some people could take offense with it.”

The Employers Association CEO also says there are many examples to follow of people making unwise decisions.

“We’ve read a lot over the past there have been several people - prominent people in the Charlotte area have said some things that probably a lot of people supported,” Colbert said. “But other people don’t view it that way and some of these people probably wish to take back or rephrase some of the things they said or sent.”

“Despite our mission that commits us to justice, we are not immune to human biases and mistakes. We deeply regret an entirely inappropriate internal communication sent last Friday. We have taken immediate steps to address this within our team and address internal personnel matters appropriately. Roof Above stands with the voices demanding basic human dignity and an end to the systematic oppression of black people in our country. We can and will address our own biases and actions,” a statement read.

Roof Above says it sent an apology to the employees.

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