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    The Employment Lawyer Blog by John F. Buckley IV

    Gale Burns

    Recent Posts

    EMPLOYMENT LAW: Workplace Computers and Other Devices

    Posted by Gale Burns on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 @ 16:02 PM

    January 21, 2011

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    Topics: legal research, employment law, John Buckley, Internet, computers, e-mail, Supreme Court, Fourth Amendment, Quon, texting, IAUP

    EMPLOYMENT LAW: Workplace Computers and the Internet

    Posted by Gale Burns on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 @ 15:02 PM

    The Lawletter Vol 34 No 3, June 4, 2010

    John Buckley, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

    As many employers have discovered too late, unrestricted use of the Internet and e-mail not only has the potential to drain productivity but also may subject an employer to liability for the improper use.  These consequences were recently illustrated by employees of the SEC who spent up to eight hours a day surfing the Internet for pornography.  Employers can protect themselves from liability, however, by implementing and enforcing a policy outlining the permissible parameters of employee Internet use, or an Internet acceptable-use policy ("IAUP").

    The need for a well‑drafted and properly enforced IAUP is illustrated by several recent cases.  In one case, Taxel Creative, Inc. v. Kelly, No. 93378, 2010‑Ohio‑263, 2010 WL 323430 (Ct. App. Jan. 28, 2010), the court held that an employee's termination was without just cause, despite the employee's purported violation of the employer's Internet use policy, and that, therefore, the termination did not render the employee ineligible for unemployment benefits.  The employee had been terminated for excessive personal use of the Internet, but the employer's policy did not define what level of personal use was permissible, although it indicated that some amount of personal Internet use during business hours was expected.   However, in another case, In re Pesant, 63 A.D.3d 1411, 881 N.Y.S.2d 227 (2009), the court held that a claimant was disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits, because his employment had been terminated due to misconduct; the evidence established that the claimant had continued to violate his employer's Internet policy by downloading inappropriate materials to his assigned computer even though he had been previously warned about the consequences of such behavior.

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    Topics: legal research, employment law, business law, Internet, computers, The Lawletter Vol 34 No 3, e-mail

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