Your Employees May (Ahem) Be Doing Something Other than Work

by Evil HR Lady on July 31, 2020

Your employees should not be viewing pornography in the office. Your employees should not be viewing pornography on company equipment, even out of the office.

These are basic tenets of sexual harassment law, plus it’s a great way to get viruses (not the Corona type), and use up bandwidth, and waste time. In other words, it’s horrible for your business.

And yet, it continues to be a problem. The Washington Examiner reported:

Online porn viewing in Washington [DC], dormant since most offices closed in March, has started to spike as more workers have returned to their cubicles in the federal city.

According to one popular website, Stripchat, weekly users have gone from about 3,000 in Washington during the coronavirus shutdown to about 55,000.

In data shared with Secrets, the “highest daily marks in traffic” beginning on July 8 were during office hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I’m 100 percent sure this isn’t only a federal employee problem. It’s a general employee problem. Here’s what you need to do to keep this out of your business.

  • Create a clear policy. No porn at work. No exceptions.
  • No porn on company-owned equipment. No exceptions.
  • No porn sent via any company system, regardless if it is on an employee’s personal device or not.
  • Install quality filtering software. 
  • Clear consequences for using pornography at work. This can either be progressive discipline or immediate termination, depending on what you think is appropriate.
  • The above policy applies to everyone from Intern to CEO.
  • Remind people that even if everyone in the office seems happy to see it, it can and will result in discipline up to an including termination. It is simply not allowed.
  • IT monitoring of web activity.

If you allow your employees to get away with this behavior–even a little bit–you could end up with a hostile work environment lawsuit, if it becomes severe or pervasive. Remember what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in regards to pornography in the office:

The court held that the proliferation of pornography and demeaning comments, if sufficiently continuous and pervasive “may be found to create an atmosphere in which women are viewed as men’s sexual playthings rather than as their equal coworkers.” 

You can’t say you are in favor of equal opportunity for women and allow porn in your office.

Make sure your employees understand that, regardless of what federal employees do, this is not something your business tolerates. Period.

Photo by Christina Morillo

Previous post:

Next post: