Technology Simplifies Life...and Porn-Viewing at Work

Last Updated Oct 23, 2007 6:24 PM EDT

surfing-for-porn.jpgThe porn-at-work issue is coming back to the forefront of employers' thoughts now that a lot of workers are using wireless devices -- which are difficult to monitor through special software. Even though 65 percent of US companies are running such software, 16 percent of men and eight percent of women surveyed by Harris Interactive acknowledged viewing porn at work.

Workers who accidentally see the offensive content are crying harassment, and the lawsuits are piling up. Richard Laermer, CEO if public relations firm RLM said:

"There's nothing you can do. Liability is the thing that keeps me up at night, because we are liable for things people do on your premises. It's serious. I'll see somebody doing it, and I'll peek over their shoulder, and they'll say, 'I don't know how that happened.' It's like 10-year-olds. And it's always on company time."
Not all employees excuse their porn-viewing behavior as accidental. James Pacenza, a former IBM employee and Vietnam vet, claimed watching porn at work helped him overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. An interesting argument, but it didn't fly.

In an "always-on" world in which workers are trying to reconcile longer work schedules with personal needs to strike some sort of balance, boundaries can easily get crossed. And devices that come home with you at night can start to feel like personal property you can use as and when you see fit. Obviously, a worker sitting in his cubicle surfing for skin knows he's breaking some type of rule. But is it really just the allure of taboo that's to blame in this situation?

(Surfing for Porn image by The Duke of URL)