Internet Use

I have an employee that has been using the internet at work to go on dating websites. She's a good employee, but this is inappropriate. We don't have a policy on internet use yet. Can I still tell her to stop using the internet for personal reasons at work?


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The fact you don't have a policy doesn't mean you can't talk to the employee about appropriate use of the computers and company time. I would pull her aside and say that while some limited personal use of company computers is permitted, she shouldn't be accessing dating sites using company computers and on company time. I'd be prepared to hear about others doing similar things though.

    It might be a good idea to develop and distribute a policy--put everyone on notice of what is and isn't appropriate. This gives the employee in question and everyone else notice that they need to limit personal use of computers.

  • I agree with BKate.  Just because you don't have an Internet Use Policy doesn't mean that you can't have a discussion with an employee regarding appropriate conduct.  If you have a code of conduct policy I would refer to that.  This employee is essentially utilizing company time to conduct personal business.  I am in the process of revising our Internet Use Policy.  I really like the examples that has on this policy.  You could very easily put this policy together using the examples and communicate it out to all employees. 

    Another idea is to speak with your IT staff and have these sites blocked.  I know many companies are blocking sites like myspace, facebook,, and other dating and inappropriate sites. 

  • Adding on to what BKate and IT HR said, I would develop and distribute a policy as soon as possible. It would not only make it clear what your expectations are in terms of limiting (vs. outright prohibiting which would probably be unrealistic) personal use of internet/computers, but it would also state that the company has the right to monitor employee use. And I'd suggest having all employees sign off that they acknowledge the policy.

    I'm not sure how you know she is acessing these dating sites (I assume you caught her or someone else did) but this will give IT the right to monitor employee use--particularly if you suspect someone is spending an inordinate amount of time using internet for personal use. It will also help you figure out what other sites should be blocked that IT HR didn't mention. For example, if you have one or more employees spending too much time selling and buying on e-bay, monitoring would be a way to see that pattern and block the site. 

  • I would have an informal discussion with the employee even though you don't have written policy.  Some things that employees do just makes me think they have no common sense and this is one of them, this employee had to know it was not appropriate to be on this kind of website while at work...

  • I agree with all advise posted to this point.   Of primary importance is to develop your internet policy as quickly as possible.

    Remember that the computer and company website or Email addresses are company facilities for which you have the right to set guidelines and standards for acceptable business practice.  Failing to address the issue of inappropriate communications within your facilities in a company liability that you cannot afford.



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