London law firm, Norton Rose, has begun an investigation into email abuse after an explicit personal email found its way on to the Internet.
The email, containing correspondence between Norton Rose employee, Bardley Chait, and his girlfriend, Claire Swire, was read by thousands of people after Chait forwarded a copy to friends.
Norton Rose that it had robust email policies in place and has begun implementing disciplinary procedures.
"The firm has clear rules that specifically prohibit the sending and receipt of non-work related material; in particular obscene, discriminatory or defamatory material and junk mail," the company said.
The firm issues its staff with a booklet giving guidance on IT security and the use of email. It also laid down conditions on the use of email in employment contracts issued last month.
A spokeswomen could not confirm whether the excitement generated by the email may have been responsible for the failure of the company's web site on Wednesday.
"We had an extremely high volume of use on web site. And it did crash the web site. Our IT people got it working again very quickly," she said.