Idle hands lead to too much surfing

Spending more than one-half of workdays surfing the Internet and looking at porn serious but not enough for dismissal: Adjudicator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/26/2012

A federal government worker who was fired for spending more than half his time in the office surfing the Internet and looking at pornography online has been reinstated with a suspension by a Canadian Public Service Labour Relations Board adjudicator.

Franklin Andrews was a senior analyst and policy advisor for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) with 27 years of discipline-free service. In August 2009, CIC became aware that Andrews had been spending a lot of time using the Internet for non-work-related purposes while at work through a routine spot-check of employees’ bandwidth usage. The check revealed that not only was Andrews surfing the Internet frequently, but he was also viewing pornographic images.

CIC’s IT security team downloaded copies of the images from Andrews’ computer and the investigation revealed he had spent between 50 and 100 per cent of his day browsing the Internet from September to November 2008 and from May to August 2009 (Andrews was in special language training from January to May 2009). On Sept. 11, 2009, two CIC directors met with Andrews to inform him of what had been found. Andrews admitted to excessive use of the Internet on his computer and viewing sexually explicit materials while at work. He needed to use the Internet for work-related research, but he acknowledged he also browsed news and sports websites. He initially claimed he spend between 25 and 50 per cent of his time online but later admitted it was higher, though he claimed he didn’t realize it was as high as it was.