Judge: Man Can't Be Fired For Surfing Web At Work

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MacNut, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    NEW YORK -- A ruling in New York should come as a relief to people who have a habit of checking out the Internet at work.

    A judge has ruled that use of the Internet is no more goofing off on the job than reading a newspaper or making a brief personal phone call.

    "It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work," Administrative Law Judge John Spooner said.

    Spooner gave the lightest of all possible punishments to a New York City worker who was accused of disregarding warnings to stay off the Internet at work. The 14-year veteran of the Department of Education used his office computer to visit news and travel Web sites.

    A lawyer for the man described the ruling as "very reasonable."
    Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a billionaire who knows what it is to put in a full day -- is upset with the judge's ruling.

    Mayor Bloomberg said city employees are working for the taxpayers, who expect people to work

    He said spending hours surfing the Internet at your work desk is inappropriate.
  2. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    Spending hours at your desk surfing the net? I don't know anyone outside of MR that does that....

    But, here is what I would like to know - what was "hours surfing" defined as? One page was open for four hours in the background? One page reloaded in the background every 30 sec when he worked and checked occasionally? For four hours straight, he clicked on a link, once ever second or so?

    I don't feel so bad with the internet at work - I don't make more than 30 seconds of personal calls a day and I don't read the paper and I don't go outside to smoke.

    Maybe Bloomberg should have been upset about the bandwidth costs instead of the time not being a trained monkey.
  3. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    I do it all the time at work with my boss looking at the screen...damn my boss doesn't do anything but surf the net himself.

  4. AndyR macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Same here...surf the net for ages at work but only because there is NOTHING to do, seriously, that why I'm leaving in 4 weeks :)

    What really narks me though is that in previous jobs if I was caught for 2 mins chatting with a collegue I would get a bollocking. Yet other people in the office disapear for 10x 5 minute fag breaks each day and nothing you can do about it!
  5. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    I remember 10 years ago when a manager had a right go at me for always getting in at 10 a.m. (flexitime). Of course he got in at 8 a.m. himself and went home early, so he never saw me still working in the office at 8pm getting masses done thanks to lack of interruptions. One day, though, I did come in early, and everyone was sat around chatting and eating breakfast. Not one person was working, not even the same manager.

    People can be real hypocrites at times.
  6. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    If I remember when I read the original report, the guy happened to have the web up on his screen when bloomberg came by for a meet and greet in the office. So he got busted. It sounded pretty unfair. May even have been something where he had finished his stack of forms, or whatever he did, so had some actual spare time. All in all, not the best guy to go after.

    I guess if there's a strict policy of "no internet use", well, then using the internet should be punishable. But once you let people use it some, all you can do is tell them to be reasonable.
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Lets face it --- many people who post here at MacRumours are probably very relieved by this ruling. :eek:

    I don't quite agree with the ruling if this was a general ruling that will apply in similar cases involving internet use at work, but it depends on how long a person uses the internet inappropriately. Checking for flight and vacation info for 20-30 minutes at a time, looking up hockey playoff stats and reading articles for 15 minutes, etc, is something many people (including myself) would do if we can at work, but I could completely understand why my employer would find it inappropriate during work times.

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