2. Your Internet Job Rights
Three Ethical Scenarios
Whether you are an employer or an employee, you should know what your rights are when it comes to Internet use in the workplace. Mark Grossman, a Florida attorney who specializes in computer and Internet law, gives answers to some basic questions.
• Scenario 1: Nobody told you that your Internet use in the office was being monitored. Now you have been warned you will be fired if you use the Internet for recreational surfing again. What are your rights?
O Bottom line: when you are using your office computer, you essentially have no rights. You would have a tough time convincing a court that the boss invaded your privacy by monitoring your use of the company PC on company time. You should probably be grateful you got a warning.
• Scenario 2: Your employees are abusing their Internet privileges, but you do not have an Internet usage policy. What do you do?
O Bottom line: Although the law is not fully developed in this area, courts are taking a straightforward approach: If it is a company computer, the company can control the way it is used. You do not need an Internet usage policy to prevent inappropriate use of your company computers. To protect yourself in the future, distribute an Internet policy to your employees as soon as possible.
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