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Access denied

Access denied (Last Updated On: July 3, 2014)

The internet is a vital resource for businesses, however it is also the engine for day to day entertainment and personal use. Employers expect their staff to come to work and to be productive. Their access to websites for personal use should in most work industries be prohibited, although it is each company to their own. Employers need to be vigilant when explaining appropriate use of the internet and what their staff are allowed and not allowed to do with work resources.

In recent news an employee at The Department of Defense was accused of using the internet for personal use at work and hiding his online activity using proxy search engines. He would then be able to access blocked and excessively look at personal websites. The banned activity could have circumvent the departments IT security and leave its firewall defence useless. The employee’s activity was a violation of a written rule which prohibited ‘web surfing and sustained accessing of non-work-related internet content’ however the employer failed to show evidence that he was using the computer for personal use. They also had not contacted the employee’s supervisor and spoken to witnesses. The employers failed to properly investigate the claim. This resulted in the alleged misconduct being unclear and the investigation redundant.

Employers as a result need to revise four things:

  • The appropriate use of the internet needs to be put in writing and verbally communicated to employees;
  • If staff fail to abide by these rules then an investigation is required;
  • Supervisors and managers must be questioned as witnesses;
  • The misconduct must be clear and all background information identified;

*Information sourced via Smart Company website.

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