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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Surfing the Web

Another major offense regarding the electronic resources of a company is surfing the web. IT professionals do have legitimate reasons to access the internet via company facilities. However, too often personal and inappropriate internet access also gets intermingled into these truly business-related activities.

Company policies must be explicit about the types of internet activities and websites that are strictly prohibited. Some of the most common include:

  • Excessive non-business related access to the internet for purchase transactions, financial information and stocks, entertainment (e.g. sports, games, listening to and downloading music, viewing videos), newsgroups, job searches, paying bills, and so on.

  • Accessing pornographic sites or chat rooms and all related activities.

  • Downloading or distributing inappropriate material.

  • Committing or assisting any unlawful acts via the internet such as fraud, illegal purchases or transfers, money laundering, harassment, theft, hacking and other securitybreaches, and infiltration of worms and viruses.

Surfing the internet for non-business reasons while on the job has highly detrimental effects, both tangible and intangible. The cost to companies is very high and includes lower employee productivity, legal implications regarding unlawful acts and liability from sexually explicit material and harassment that creates a hostile working environment, and reduced availability of bandwidth on the corporate network for business operations. Video streaming off of the internet is particularly degrading of network capacity and many companies have blocked known streaming sites from access through the use of filters.

These are all serious issues for which firing computer professionals is fully justified and simple to prosecute with easily available evidence. Monitoring and filtering software can track internet access right down to individual user account identification, times and dates, and the duration of active accesses.

Email Use – Case 3

In the case of Blakely v. Continental Airlines, the employer was held responsible for failing to monitor inappropriate use of emails and the internet by employees when the employer had notice of such actions. The employer was liable for a hostile work environment that was created when employees posted harassing and defamatory messages to a company electronic bulletin board. Legal liability is just more reason for employers to track the inappropriate activities of employees, and fire the culpable individuals.

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj


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