Web porn at work leads to high number of dismissals

Nearly one in four employers have sacked staff for misusing the internet and
of these dismissals 69 per cent were related to pornography, an exclusive
survey by Personnel Today and Internet filtering company Websense has revealed.

Based on responses from 544 HR professionals, the survey shows internet
misuse is a huge problem for employers, with 43 per cent having to deal with
incidents of web abuse by staff in the workplace each month.

Four out of 10 companies have received complaints from workers concerned
with their colleagues wasting work time on the net. The majority of employers
(51 per cent) have received complaints about staff viewing pornography, 26 per
cent about time-wasting on personal e-mail sites, and 9 per cent received
complaints about racist or hate sites.

Employment law specialist at law firm Bevan Ashford, Sarah Lamont, said:
"These are amazing figures that show the problem of internet and e-mail
abuse is widespread. Employers should be very concerned about it. The time lost
is shocking as far as productivity is concerned."

She said employers must have a policy in place on internet use.

"HR must train line managers to deal with the problem as consistency in
these matters is an important issue," she added.

The research finds that employees spend up to two hours a week on personal
internet use during work hours.

While most dismissals were related to pornography, employees were also
sacked for logging on to chat rooms, or race hate and other discriminatory sites.

When dealing with the problem, 56 per cent of HR professionals have had an
informal chat with staff, 29 per cent have issued a verbal warning, 28 per cent
a written warning and 23 per cent have dismissed an employee over internet
misuse.

www.websense.com

By Quentin Reade

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