Lots of companies use email to communicate with their employees.
Most companies create email “distribution lists.” A distribution list is a group email, that lets a company send a message to many employees at once, with just one email.
Aviva is an insurance company in the United Kingdom.
Recently, someone in the company sent an email to one of Aviva’s employees who was being let go, or fired. The email gave instructions to the employee about what they needed to do, now that he’d been fired.
However, the email was accidentally sent to everyone in the company.
Aviva has 1,300 employees around the world.
That means that 1,300 people who work at Aviva were all sent an email that implied they had been fired.
But it wasn’t true.
Human resources (or HR, for short) is the department in a company that hires and fires employees.
Aviva’s human resources department sent out the email.
When employees are fired, they are usually told in person and then sent a follow-up email with more detailed information. In this case, the HR department should have only sent that follow-up email to one person.
Most people who received the emails knew it was a clerical error—in other words, a mistake. Most people didn’t think they had actually been fired.
Aviva’s HR department sent another email about half an hour later letting everyone know of the error, and apologizing for the mistake.