Sexting and Other Bad Career Moves

Last Updated Mar 2, 2011 6:33 AM EST

A Missouri High School coach is being investigated for sending sexual messages and pictures (including full frontal nudity) to (drum roll please) students. While we can all sit here and say, "We would never be so stupid." (And, presumably that's true. BNET does have high caliber readers.) But, you should also know that being involved in a consensual sexual adult relationship at work once doesn't mean that the relationship will always be considered consensual, and while you think diamonds may be forever, the only thing that really lasts are electronic messages.

In a British Columbia, Canada, case Lisa Macintosh was awarded $30,000 (Canadian) after her boss (and former lover) continued to send her naughty text messages. The Human Rights Tribunal, which heard the case, didn't buy the argument that because she responded, they were consensual. I'm not sure how that would play out in the US courts, but one thing is clear: Your sex life and your office life should be separate.

As long as we're going global, in a case from Australia, a government employee was terminated after he Googled the word "knockers" on his company laptop, at home. Being naive, that term seems rather innocuous to me, but it turns out that this has nothing to do with hardware for your front door. (Please don't google this word. I don't want any of my readers to get in trouble with their jobs.)
Despite the fact the man deleted his browser history, the computer he used, a work-provided laptop, had the program Spector360 installed. That programs takes "snapshots" of a user's Internet and desktop activity every 30 seconds.
Leave all "private" moments to your private computer. Just because your boss isn't standing over you doesn't mean he doesn't know what you're doing. Companies can and do monitor computer usage, not just usage on the company servers.

(Of course, I wouldn't want to be the person who filters through all that data. Somethings I just don't want to know about.)

I know it's kind of creepy and big-brother-ish, but whatever you do on a computer or a cell phone can be called up later. There's no plausible deniability when you've just sent a picture of your own "parts" to someone, underage or not. Likewise, forget about blaming your at home porn surfing on your teenager. Even if that's true, what on earth are you doing, letting him use your work computer?

And look for your next significant other outside of the office. It's easier on everyone and less likely to get you fired.

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Illustration by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, flickr cc 2.0

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