Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of UK companies have had to take disciplinary action as a result of employees viewing pornographic images on their company computers, according to research.
The survey, by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and computer consultancy PixAlert, also found that 54 per cent of the senior managers questioned were unaware of their personal legal and civil liability for illegal and inappropriate images in the workplace.
Imogen Haslam, CIPD professional adviser, said: "Many people may view some inappropriate computer images as a bit of harmless fun. But this is not just about sparing blushes.
"A culture where some dodgy pictures are tolerated can easily create the environment where far more offensive or even illegal images can find their way into an organisation - by accident or otherwise."
She advises employers to adopt clear, consistent policies that leave no room for doubt in the minds of employees.
Key findings of the survey include:
71 per cent of companies have had an incident where they have had to deal with employees having inappropriate or illegal images in the workplace within the past 24 months
54 per cent of managers were unaware of their personal legal liability for illegal and inappropriate images in the workplace
66 per cent of companies have an out of date Computer Acceptable Usage Policy for the management of inappropriate and illegal images
68 per cent of companies have not deployed a desktop technology to counteract increased threats from new technologies such as memory sticks, DVDs CDs, digital cameras and camera phones.