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Porn emails top sacking offence

Link: Employee web addicts search for porn

In the last 12 months disciplinary cases for email and internet abuse at work exceeded those for dishonesty, violence and health & safety breaches combined, a study by KLegal and Personnel Today magazine.

The 212 firms that participated in the survey said they had taken disciplinary action in 358 cases for email or internet related offences compared to 326 for the other three categories.

Only dishonesty (almost 100%) and violence (74%) received a higher ranking.

Nearly two thirds of email or internet related dismissals and half of the disciplinary cases were for accessing or distributing pornographic or sexual material.

But the survey also found that companies are attempting to crack down on abuses. One in five firms now monitor employee internet usage on a daily basis, almost twice the number compared with 19 months ago. Nearly 10% of firms monitor staff without telling them, even though this is breaking the law.

The survey also found that employees are nearly ten times more likely to be dismissed for sending a pornographic email than they are for sending an email that may damage the company’s reputation.

Stephen Levinson, partner in employment law at KLegal, said the survey showed that efforts to deal with the problem did not appear to be working particularly well. ‘Businesses would be well advised to give greater prominence than they now do to the sanctions employees will face for email and internet abuse.’

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