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Employers Must Report Employees Who Surf Illegal Websites 03-01-2006
- By Rita Risser, attorney at law

A recent New Jersey case alerts managers to their responsibility to prevent crimes on company property. Though the case applies only to companies doing business in New Jersey, courts in other states are likely to follow its lead.

The case was brought by a woman who had a 10 year old daughter. The woman had recently married a man who was employed by "XYZ Company." About six months after the wedding, the woman realized the man had been taking inappropriate photos of her daughter and posting them on the web. She discovered he had been posting from his computer at work.

The woman sued the company for allowing the man to use his computer at work for illegal purposes, without reporting him to the authorities. Many people at XYZ Company knew he was visiting inappropriate sites, including the manager of Information Services, his supervisor and manager, and the head of Human Resources. Nonetheless, he had received only two verbal warnings to stop.

The court held the company had a duty to report him, and allowed the woman to go forward with her claim against the company.

What this means to you: If you know of illegal web surfing by employees, it is your duty to report it to management, and ultimately to the police. Companies that have web monitoring software have a duty to use it.

 

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.
 
 
     
 
 
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