Forty-one members of staff at Royal & Sun Alliance have been suspended after an e-mail containing a lewd spoof of cartoon character Bart Simpson was circulated around the insurance company's Liverpool offices.
The move comes after a lengthy internal investigation into a non-work related e-mail that was received by a company director. It is thought that up to 100 staff from the administration and finance departments may have been involved in the doctored picture attached to an e-mail.
A spokesman for Royal & Sun Alliance confirmed that staff had been suspended for breaching company guidelines on "misuse of the Internet", but would not confirm the exact nature of the e-mail.
The suspensions come only days after a woman's salacious e-mail to her boyfriend ended up being read by millions around the world, resulting in disciplinary proceedings for lawyers at City law firm Norton Rose where he works.
The fate of lawyer Bradley Chait, and his six colleagues to whom he forwarded girlfriend Claire Swire's message, is expected to be decided this week.
These are the latest in a series of high profile e-mail related indiscretions, including cases where staff at Cable and Wireless, Orange and the White House have been suspended and in some cases dismissed.