BT sacks 200 staff for accessing porn

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BT sacks 200 staff for accessing porn

Karl Cushing

British Telecom has sacked 200 staff in the last 18 months for looking at porn on their work PCs, it emerged today (18 June).

Ten have also been reported to the police and at least one has received a prison sentence.

A BT spokesman said the company sent staff an e-mail twice warning them that they faced the sack if caught looking at porn on their PCs at work, but the offenders ignored the warnings.

"We took this decision for the good of BT and since we’ve taken this action the problem has reduced dramatically," said the spokesman, who defended the relatively high number of sackings by saying it was "a tiny percentage" of its 100,000 workforce.

BT is the latest in a long line of large corporates to instigate a "zero tolerance" policy on porn.

Last year car giant Ford instigated a company-wide programme to stamp out "offensive" material in the workplace following a porn amnesty where staff could get rid of inappropriate material.

Legal experts have warned of the risks of infringing employee rights and monitoring staff e-mail activity without telling them. Determining what constitutes offensive material can also be a minefield.

The BT spokesman said in its case the investigations were triggered by users typing in "targeted words" on their PCs - not through random monitoring - and the inappropriate material "came under the heading of pornography".

Last November the House of Commons authorities announced plans to buy a special filter system that would stop unsolicited cyber-porn ending up on MPs' computer screens at Westminster without screening out legitimate content like county names with the suffix "sex''.


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