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Sep21

Maine Internet Gambling and Porn

As a

Maine employer, should I worry about gambling and pornography on our work computers, or just ignore it?

Your concern is appropriate. Gambling or surfing for porn on company time and on company computers raises some serious problems in Maine and nationwide. Those problems include lost productivity and issues of sexual discrimination and the “hostile work environment.”

Before you completely eliminate the use of the Internet in the workplace, keep the big picture in mind. The productivity gained through use of computers and the Internet in general far outweighs the lost productivity your firm may suffer as a result of the behaviors of a few miscreants. When the telephone was introduced to the workplace originally, some managers were worried that employees would spend their working days making costly personal calls. The benefits soon overshadowed the costs.

How does surfing for pornography at work become an issue of sexual discrimination? You may have an employee who is accessing a triple-X site. Another employee may see that worker’s screen or use the colleague’s computer and be exposed to that content. The second employee may deem the situation a “hostile work environment.” For example, one employee, “Joe,” may decide that he is offended by the pornographic image of an Asian female on the screen of “John.” He may decide this 6 months after first viewing the image. He may file a complaint with the EEOC. He need not be a member of the protected group, including ethnic, racial, or gender-based, to name a few, in order to make that complaint.

Productivity or performance can be hampered. Consider the case of the worker who spends half his day gambling online. That is clearly lost productive time.

Your firm can set strong policies against Internet gambling or surfing for pornography on company time and computers, declaring it “gross misconduct” allowing for immediate firing.

It is sometimes easy to see what sites a computer has been to, but difficult to tell who has used the computer, particularly if more than one employee uses it. Workers can also delete their browsing history. JH

This entry was posted on Friday, September 21st, 2007 at 4:03 pm and is filed under
Employment Training, Labor Laws, Management / Leadership Development, Termination, Workplace Management.
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6 Responses to “Maine Internet Gambling and Porn”

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