Companies act against web and e-mail abusers

As companies look to curb the amount internet and e-mail abuse that occurs in the workplace and during business hours, they are increasingly resorting to disciplinary action against employees.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  September 25, 2002

As companies look to curb the amount internet and e-mail abuse that occurs in the workplace and during business hours, they are increasingly resorting to disciplinary action against employees.

A recent IDC report revealed that 30-40% of web surfing that takes place during business hours is non-business related, for enterprises this equals wasted resources both in terms of staff and IT. As such, companies are beginning to develop company policy for internet and e-mail use, and pull employees into line when they breach these rules.

The UK, in particular has seen a number of high profile cases, the most recent of which saw 150 HP employees and contractors suspended for “misuse of the company e-mail.”

According, to a report by UK law firm, KLegal, the number of disciplinary cases for e-mail and internet abuse in the UK in the last 12 months now exceeds the total number of cases for dishonesty, violence and health & safety breaches.

Excessive use the internet or e-mail registered the largest amount of complaints, while offensive e-mails or web sites and e-mails damaging the company’s reputation were the other primary offenders.

Stephen Levinson of KLegal, also advises companies to draw more attention to company policies and punishments.

“While companies appear to be making more effort to deal with the problem the measures taken do not appear to be working particularly well. Businesses would be well advised to give greater prominence than they now do to the sanctions employees will face for e-mail and internet abuse.”

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