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Entire Company Fired by Accident

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Seemingly every year, one university or another sends out a bunch of accidental acceptance letters, briefly inflating the hopes of anywhere between a few and every applicant before crushing them in an apologetic email. This year, one of those schools was Vassar. It sent 76 students acceptance letters that it later had to take back.
Of course, and not that this is any consolation to high school seniors the world over, there are worse letters to receive. British insurer Aviva (AV) proved that point quite eloquently in a recent email that fired its entire staff.
According to the Global Post, the email was only meant for one person, but went to the entire company due to a clerical error. It told employees to turn in all company material and not to disclose any of Aviva’s secrets. No word on how the company planned to enforce these orders with no employees.
Currently, 1,300 people work at Aviva.
Human Resources rescinded the email within minutes, according to a company spokesman. He also told reporters that most employees didn’t believe it.
The only problem is, at least one division seems to have. Aviva has been scaling back its asset management group, and announced layoffs of 160 people in January. Three senior directors in asset management had also recently left the company.
As a result, the email was met with “stunned silence” in at least one office.
Of course, mistakes happen, and as an employee, it’s probably better to get a mistaken email from the boss than to accidentally send him one calling him incompetent or worse. Then again, in this economy, I’m sure it was a tough email for many staffers to receive.
In the future, Aviva may want to watch out or it might be the recipient of a few of these.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.