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Cyberslacking Article Review
June 4, 2009
Internet usage on the job is a typical issue in the 21st century workplace. Discovering the consequences and regulation of internet use on the job from manager to newest employee uncovers several issues. The jurisdiction of human resources at the workplace, industry regulation and court authority over internet usage combine to form the expected behavior of employees in company policies.
Since the emailing system has been in effect within the workplace, communication has become more prominent in delivering messages or memos to individuals. The internet has now become an asset within the large and smaller companies for sources of information and production. When companies allot salary wages to an employee, expectations to work are expected. Some companies recognize that resources are needed from the internet to perform their job duties, however , the internet is not to abuse and access for personal gain.
A war exists in corporate America regarding internet usage in the workplace. Issues have arisen and management has been unsure how to handle the issue properly. According to the article "Controlling Internet Use in the Workplace," the author proposed to "Set policies for internet use. Rules need to exist before they can be enforced" (Taillon, 2004).
As mentioned prior, larger companies experience dishonesty while employees utilize the internet during working hours. Since larger companies take advantage of the monitoring system on the market, the fear of breaching security within the companies has allowed the approach of honesty and integrity to co-exist with a type of assurance. By technology continually changing, a company must have a variety of safeguards in protecting the company and the use of internet within.
Protection is the main objective. Investors want to know that what they take interest in is protected and continually growing profits. Companies who act as employers want to invest in honest, trustworthy, and productive employees. In the event this is not done, safeguarding the company is advised, especially when it comes to internet use in the workplace.
Court's authority over internet usage
The courts have set precedent in several cases when it comes to employers controlling employee's internet usage. The case Blakely v. Continental helped to display a need for an employee conduct policy while using company owned and third party computer systems. The ruling was in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the company is liable for a harassment- free environment through all avenues (Mills, Hu, Beldona and Clay, 2001). Another case, Conigilio v. City of Berwyn, made employers aware that if an employee is noticed by another employee "cyberslacking," an argument of a hostile work environment may arise (Mills et al., 2001). In this case, the plaintiff complained to her supervisor about a coworker's sexually explicit emails being received and in return, she was told she could no longer work a flex schedule she was working previously (Mills et al., 2001). The court ruled in the plaintiff's favor due to the anxiety disorder caused directly by the defendant's actions or lack thereof (Mills et al., 2001). Employees have not won all suits that have been filed against the companies in question. As long as the company can show they have set up policies and procedures to ensure safety from those that are "cyberslacking," then it becomes harder to contest or defend that the company in question is liable.
Human Resources Effects of Cyber laws
Human resources and the effects of cyber laws play a major role in ensuring that policies regarding internet usage are in place. Usually, this legal issue is addressed in orientation employees are required to read and sign an internet usage policy. This is the legal contract between the company and its employees. This contract is all the company has to stand on if ever an issue arises from inappropriate internet usage. As a precautionary measure, most companies will employ internet-monitoring services or invest in firewalls and other tracking devices to ensure employees are not venturing on to illicit websites while they are at work. Other mechanisms a company might employ to monitor verbiage and language would indicate that a person is communicating in a vile manner. This system would then simply shut the employee out of the program and he/she would not be able to return to this website as it then marked as an illegal site.
According to the Cyberslacking article from the Cornell University, studies show 54.1% of the 2,133 corporations surveyed track employee usage of the internet ( Mills, et al., 2001). In the case studies, it is apparent that the information was available to make the case and point on the issues the suits surrounded. In some cases, the companies neglected to utilize the information for one reason or another. Perhaps the underlying issue there is they had not stopped the activity thus making them guilty of negligent behavior from a management standpoint. The law is on the side of the employer only if there is follow-through of the policies put in place to curtail negative behavior.
Ultimately, cyberslacking is a distraction in business, an avenue for deformation and an industry specific legal issue. Employers prepare as best they can to discourage employees from prohibited usage of the internet without preventing occupational performance. The best practice for employees is to limit internet usage at work to job specific duties and to secure passwords.
Mills, J., Hu, B., Beldona, S. and Clay, J. (2001). Cyberslacking!: A Liability Issue for Wired Workplaces. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly 2001; 42; 34. DOI: 10.1177/0010880401425004
Taillon, G. (2004). Controlling Internet Use in the Workplace. The CPA Journal , 16.