AirTalk for November 1, 2011

Paid to Facebook? More like paid to surf porn

Parma FC Press Conference

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Just what are these employees looking at while on the clock?

How savvy the workplace that blocks Facebook access for its worker bees. They must know the out-of-sight stats that show 800 billion minutes are spent on Facebook every month – a chunk of which is done at work. But a more surprising stat from the “Biz 3.0” blog focuses on porn use at work. Its "Wasted Time in the Workplace" infographic says 70% of all Internet porn traffic happens during the nine-to-five work day.

One Michigan worker seems to have done a lot of the heavy lifting for that statistic. Evidence from his former employer showed that in an eight-hour day, Ronald Berglund spent 3.5 to 4 hours visiting pornographic sites. Miraculously, a court decision about Berglund's termination said there was no evidence that accessing such sites negatively affected his work performance.

It's not just the rank and file looking for thrills in their cubicles. Earlier this year, the CEO of Houston's public transit authority was suspended for a week without pay for time spent on sexually explicit websites. Did that punishment fit the NSFW transgression? Business ethicist Chris MacDonald of the University of Toronto thinks employers aren’t prepared for this type of behavior and tend to overreact for no particularly good reason. MacDonald writes: “It seems to me that the point here should not be about porn; the point should be whether personal web-surfing at the office is allowed at all. There’s all kinds of deviant, transgressive, and socially controversial stuff on the web. Porn, per se, is far from the worst. So surfing the web for non-business purposes should either be allowed, or not.”

WEIGH IN:

Really? Is using your work computer to watch a spectacular music video the same as stealing peeks of triple-X webcams? What kind of web surfing do you sneak in at work? Does your company have a policy governing your tech activity? Does watching porn at work create a “hostile work environment” if no one knows about it?

Guest:

Chris MacDonald, Professor of Philosophy, Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto


blog comments powered by Disqus