Cyberslacking in the work space - an issue for everyone

A recent case has highlighted the issue of personal internet usage whilst at work. The case considered whether a company was entitled to dismiss a member of staff over internet browsing during working hours. It was found that the employee had a substantial browsing history that was unrelated to working duties.

Cyberslacking, personal use of the Internet by employees at work, can be a problem for employers resulting in reduced productivity. There is evidence to suggest that as much as 40% of Internet use during the working day is not business-related.

Businesses can try to control non-work-related access to the Internet by technological measures or by restricting Internet access to specific computers but many employers are content to allow employees personal Internet access from their own computer at specified times (perhaps during lunch breaks) .

Jonathan Hardiker, Solicitor and employment dispute resolution specialist at Thomson Hayton Winkley suggested,

“In such circumstances an employer would be well advised to have a formal email and Internet policy so that everyone is clear what is, and what is not, permitted.

There have been cases where employees have been found to have been fairly dismissed for gross misconduct for unauthorised use of the Internet. The recent example at Weighmans is something that all employees and employers should be conscious about.”…

If you need any further information on employment related disputes contact Jonathan Hardiker at Thomson Hayton Winkley.

Published 30 January 2020

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