A fifth of employers may be breaking the law by monitoring
staff e-mails without their consent or knowledge.
A survey by law firm KLegal revealed many firms were risking
legal action by checking on staff e-mail without informing them.
There were more than 100 instances of disciplinary action or
dismissal for downloading pornography over the Internet reported by the 200
firms that responded to survey.
Employers were found to be 40 per cent more likely to
dismiss staff for downloading porn than for sending offensive or defamatory
Another significant trend identified was that 30 per cent of
firms allowed only senior executives and middle management to use the Internet.
Stephen Levinson, head of employment law (UK) at KLegal,
said many employers were unsure of the law in relation to e-mail monitoring and
use of the Internet.
He commented, “Recent increases in regulation have created
uncertainty about how to manage employee use of the Internet and e-mail.”
By Ben Willmott