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Sep14

Connecticut Internet Gambling and Porn

As a

Connecticut employer, do I need to be concerned about gambling and pornography on our work computers?

Productivity can really suffer if employers don’t consider this issue.  A firm could be exposed to the possibility of a complaint to the EEOC for creating a “hostile working environment.”

So the answer is yes. When workers use company computers on company time to play poker or to access triple-X sites, it raises problems for employers in Connecticut and across the country.

The worker who spends half his day gambling online is not being productive. You may not be able to prove that he is the one using the computer for that purpose. Instead, you may address his performance.

Some workers may regularly surf to porn sites. Or they may have nude images as their screen savers. Other employees may decide this is sexual discrimination. They may decide it creates a hostile work environment and file a complaint with the EEOC. The complainant need not be a member of the protected group to make a complaint. He or she may decide to file a complaint six months after being exposed to the content. As you probably know, it’s not difficult for one employee’s computer contents to be seen by another.

A survey recently showed 6% of office workers admitted surfing for pornography on company computers during company time. The survey by MSN-Zogby revealed that more men than women engage in the activity. Only 1% of women admitted to it, while 10% of men surveyed said they accessed porn.

Those are some of employers biggest concerns. However, the survey also showed that office workers take personal calls in meetings, look for new employment online, and pay personal bills on company time.

The best approach is to set a clear policy that declares porn surfing and gambling on the job as “gross misconduct,” punishable by immediate firing.

Employers can track the use a computer has been put to, but not necessarily who used that computer. Workers can also easily wipe out their surfing trails. If computers are networked, however, the network administrator may be able to view a worker’s screen, undetected. 

Employers can also obtain software to block access to certain sites.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007 at 1:30 pm and is filed under
Hiring and Staffing, Human Resources Management, Labor Laws, Performance Management, Termination, Workplace Management.
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