“The workplace no longer has traditional borders”

Those were the words of employment lawyer Daniel Lublin in an article titled, “Keep personal online use separate from business.”  Many companies have come to the realization that policy on computer use requires constant attention.  Many employees have discovered this to be true as well, but not before losing their jobs.
Here are a few reasons to help understand why:

  • Much like neglecting to clock out for breaks, excessive online “breaks” can be considered time theft and lead to dismissal with cause.
  • Emails can often lead to dismissal if they are offensive or harassing in nature.  Depending on the severity of the actions, Lublin says that employees could “end up surfing the classifieds for a criminal defence lawyer, as well as for a new job”.
  • Reckless Facebook, Twitter, and blog postings can all lead to discipline and often dismissal.

The good news is that there are things you can do to continue surfing the web at work.  First, although it seems simple enough, treat your workplace computer like your workplace computer.  Although some workplaces may allow company-provided devices to be used for personal use, you should review company policy and always assume you are being monitored. Lublin suggests ensuring “that personal Internet use away from the office does not intersect with your job. This applies equally to the use of PDAs, BlackBerrys, Twitter, blogs and Facebook.”  With a little common sense you should be able to ensure that your latest online exploits don’t end up on HR’s desk.