I have my work emails forwarded to my phone and I'd like to be able to give them precedence over emails to my gmail. Is this possible? Or can I setup my work email using POP and then use a different tone for those?
Not with the Gmail app that comes with the phone, no. But, if you really wanted this, you could do it like so:
Create a new Gmail account, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Setup the new Gmail account in your Android phone, and enable notifications.
In the Gmail web interface, set up a filter in your current Gmail account that has all email from your friend forwarded to the new email address. (You will still see these emails in your regular inbox.)
Somewhat depends on what your work email server looks like, but I have a Gmail account, two Hotmail accounts, and an MS Exchange account on my Droid and there is an option within each Accounts settings to turn on/off "Email notifications" and to choose which ringtone is used for that notification. So, by that token, you could have your Gmail emails sound off with the default notification and have your work email play any crazy sound you like. Does that help or am I misunderstanding your question?