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Mayo Clinic sent employees furlough emails by mistake

Mailing was meant to confirm employees' participation in furloughs or reduced work hours.

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About 5,400 Mayo Clinic employees were recently sent emails that incorrectly told them they were being furloughed, and others received emails with incorrect dates.

Karl Oestreich, interim division chairman of Mayo Clinic’s Consumer Communications, said employees were notified of the errors soon after they were discovered.

“We’re so sorry this happened. It’s very unfortunate,” he said. “Things are challenging enough as they are.”

The emails from Mayo Clinic Human Resources were part of a mass mailing called a Financial Stabilization Employee Impact Notice. The mailing was to confirm a conversation with supervisors about employees’ participation in a fixed or flexible furlough or reduced work hours. The emails were sent out from Friday through Monday.

A note was sent out to supervisors about the mistake.

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Oestreich said it’s not known yet what caused the error -- either a technology glitch or a human mistake. An investigation is underway.

“We’re still trying to find out the root cause,” he said.

Mayo Clinic dealt with the aftermath of a similar error in February, when 364 letters of acceptance were emailed accidentally to students applying to Rochester's Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. Only 50 were actually accepted.

Oestreich said the two situations are unrelated.

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