Lessons learned the hard way…
1) Email lives forever.
2) When you tangle with a company that hires lawyers by the dozen, be prepared to get bit.
According to a story in the New York Times, Wal-Mart asserted in court filings that Julie Roehm and Sean Womack engaged in a sexual relationship during the agency review process and extended their visits with DraftFCB to spend more personal time together and to promote themselves to the agency as job candidates.
Wal-Mart backed up its assertions with what it said were e-mail messages sent by Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack, both married, from their work and private accounts.
â€œI hate not being able to call you or write you,â€ Ms. Roehm wrote early last fall, according to an e-mail message Mr. Womackâ€™s wife provided to Wal-Mart. â€œI think about us together all the time. Little moments like watching your face when you kiss me.â€
…Wal-Mart said in the filing that Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack had lengthy career discussions with Tony Weisman, then the global growth officer of Draft FCB, and that those discussions had tainted the agency review process. Wal-Mart also asserted that Ms. Roehm shared internal company e-mail messages with Mr. Weisman and Mr. Draft, the chief executive of Draft FCB.
Mr. Womack wrote e-mail messages to Mr. Weisman signing them â€œSean and Julieâ€ that discussed the two leaving Wal-Mart to work in a venture with Draft FCB, Wal-Mart said in its filing. In one message cited, he said they would want an equity stake and discussed timing: â€œWhat do the next 60-360 days look like for your guys? When will it be too late?â€ he wrote in August.
According to a Wal-Martâ€™s spokeswoman, the company didn’t initially intend to release all the gory details, but when Roehm sued them, all bets were off. And to make matters worse, Interpublic (the parent of DraftFCB) got pulled into it by having to provide copies of e-mail messages to Wal-Mart for the inquiry
This whole thing is embarrassing for everyone involved.