The Internet Friend or Foe



By: Carolyne S. Kalson, Esq.

 

As an “old timer”, my friends and colleagues know that I am somewhat new to Cyberspace and a little resistant to web pages, blackberries and daily checking of e-mails. However, as an attorney, the Internet can assist me with legal research. Additionally, in Federal Court “e filing” is now mandatory.

 

However, I firmly believe that the Internet is a big problem to business today. It has been estimated that employees are wasting as much as two hours per day on the internet doing personal errands and forwarding jokes, chain letters and the like. In addition to an employee not being productive during that time, they may be subjecting the employer to liability for sexual harassment and/or hostile work environment. All it takes is one employee to be offended. As an employer, you really need to stop this trend now.

 

My suggestion is that employers have an Internet policy and that they vigorously enforce it. The policy should come up right the screen at the beginning of each day. You should advise all employees that you will be monitoring their computer use as a deterrent. Then you should monitor or check the employee's usage weekly or monthly.

 

Consider putting the following in your Internet policy:

  • That the employee's use of the system constitutes consent to monitoring and the employer will monitor by accessing employee's files at any time.
  • State that the system is owned by the employer and is for business purposes only and not for personal messages.
  • State that false statements, derogatory remarks, cartoons and jokes should not be accessed or distributed.
  • Remind employees to respect copyright works.
  • Advise employees that deleted files may be retrieved.

 

If you would like more information on this subject, please contact my office at 732- 785-0800.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and is not intended as legal advice.

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