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Using blind carbon copy on professional work emails

(42 Posts)
Littleturkish Sun 23-Nov-14 19:26:08

I received an email from a colleague that I replied to, and then minutes later had another email from a different colleague who (from the heading of the email below) had been BCC'd into the first email.

My first reaction was anger- possibly overshadowed by the fact both of these colleagues are incredibly irritating and are creating a huge amount of work load over something relatively insignificant. I don't think the second person realised that they had been BCC'd in when they included that email in their reply/forgot to delete the top of the original email.

I think BCC on work emails is unprofessional- AIBU?

AlpacaYourThings Sun 23-Nov-14 19:29:02

Not sure about this situation individually.

In general YABU to say that BCC is unprofessional.

Pixa Sun 23-Nov-14 19:29:25

Could it be an accidental BCC? Maybe the owner meant to CC instead.

TheAlias Sun 23-Nov-14 19:29:29

I think you're right. Where I work it's a disciplinary offence to use it!

Jewels234 Sun 23-Nov-14 19:29:54

YANBU. I find people who do this bizarre. Almost as weird as people who insist on having a 'has read this email' option (not sure what it's called but irritates the hell out of me).

purpleroses Sun 23-Nov-14 19:32:59

I didn't think you could reply to someone who's been BCC-ed in. I use it occasionally at work where I want to let someone know discretely how I've handled something. Or if emailing a large number of people and I don't want anyone to reply-all and irritate the others.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Nov-14 19:34:09

I Often use it when trying to
(a) stitch people up
(b) defuse situations

it is INCREDIBLY bad manners to reply all to an email where your own name does not appear in the header

reply and let the sender reply all is far more professional

in fact
reply all
without scanning through the whole send list and reviewing the implications of each is unprofessional

skaen Sun 23-Nov-14 19:36:59

I agree completely with TiP. Although I usually use bcc to tell someone else about a situation they will need to defuse without the main participants having to know about it.

skylark2 Sun 23-Nov-14 19:39:42

I do technical support at work. A new colleague is BCCed on every support email I send out so he can start to absorb what it is I do, how I deal with awkward customers, which questions are asked over and over, when I write out answers and when I point people at the website or manual, and so on.

I don't see how that's unprofessional.

meandjulio Sun 23-Nov-14 19:42:24

I'm not aware there's any policy on it in my workplace but I would never use it in any circumstances, so YANBU.

MrsSippy Sun 23-Nov-14 19:48:57

There are some circumstances where BCC is the right thing to do, such as an email to a number of people who don't need to know the other people's email addresses - so depending on the situation YAMBU (maybe...)

FishWithABicycle Sun 23-Nov-14 19:50:49

YABU. There's many situations where BCC is entirely appropriate, just like the examples purplerose gives. I often bcc my line manager in because I need him to be aware that a particular discussion is happening, but he would be irritated by being copied in to every subsequent reply-all.

TeenAndTween Sun 23-Nov-14 19:53:57

I agree with TP too.

I used to use BCC
- with a long customer email list. But then would put in italics something like 'to all customers interested in project X' or whatever.
- in a tense situation where I wanted my manager to stay in the loop but I didn't want to escalate the situation by officially copying him in. (Other option for this is to forward for information afterwards).

So not unprofessional to use, but should be used sparingly. And recipient should of course not reply to all and sundry!

katese11 Sun 23-Nov-14 19:54:58

BCC definitely has a place - when I worked in recruitment someone used CC instead of BCC on an email to their whole candidate list and all hell broke loose (eg bosses who were jobseeking now knew their staff were also jobseeking and vice versa) Complete nightmare. In an eg like the OP ' S though it just sounds like they're trying to be arsey.

ChippyMinton Sun 23-Nov-14 19:56:06

BCC must be used in circumstances where cc or to all would breach data protection , so YABU to say it's unprofessional.

MrsMaker83 Sun 23-Nov-14 19:59:36

Depends on the circumstances...

Instances like hiding recipients emails from each other, BCCing simply for info but not needing to be involved in the email conversation etc... So when there are genuine reasons for hiding that person it's fine.

It pisses me off when its used in a bitchy way. For example Ive seen it used to stitch people up, where the main recipient doesn't know somebody else is following an entire conversation.

eurochick Sun 23-Nov-14 20:00:16

"it is INCREDIBLY bad manners to reply all to an email where your own name does not appear in the header"

Eh what? Not in my world.

ontosecondary Sun 23-Nov-14 20:01:11

It's deeply unprofessional to ever blind copy a colleague or manager to an email you have sent another colleague. Poisonous.

Trying to stitch people up at work is of course beyond unprofessional - but this was a joke I think?

To the OP - always think of these things as "one in the bank" for you. The original sender's nastiness has been revealed by the recipient's blunder. The great thing is that you need say nothing.

ontosecondary Sun 23-Nov-14 20:02:14

But copying a colleague in on an email sent to customers and mass mailing "You are receiving this email because" using bcc because you aren't at liberty to reveal the identifies of all recipients to each other is fine.

TheAlias Sun 23-Nov-14 20:03:28

Emails are copied far to much altogether IMO.

If, in the olden days, you wouldn't have bothered picking up the phone or sending a paper memo, then really I don't need a copy of the email.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Nov-14 20:04:14

reply all if you are the BCC person is putting the original sender in a rather nasty spot

not a joke at all about stitching people up
I've used it against former Audit Commission colleagues.
When a member of the team is trying to argue an insupportable point, copying their boss into your defense of the correct line is entirely reasonable.

ontosecondary Sun 23-Nov-14 20:04:15

agree eurochick.

Am confused because recognise Talkinpeace's username as a normal pleasant poster.

MarrogfromMars Sun 23-Nov-14 20:09:03

If you think it's unprofessional to bcc, is it also unprofessional to forward the email to that person afterwards (same thing as far as I can see)?

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Nov-14 20:10:41

onto grin
I'm entirely capable of being pleasant, helpful, useful
and utterly ruthless at the same time

hence why I use BCC and forward in a very careful and considered manner wink

zeezeek Sun 23-Nov-14 20:12:18

I used it when I'm sending something out to a large group of people, but would never use it in professional e-mails. If you can't openly cc someone in then, in my opinion, in my profession, then you are sending an e-mail you shouldn't be sending.

I have had this happen to me (a colleague who was trying to stitch me up) and it made me feel really paranoid (I found out that the other person had been bcc'd when they replied as well). It just feels sneaky.

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