Workplace porn surfers are mounting problem for UK business

One in four UK companies have dismissed employees for Internet misconduct, the majority of which were for using online porn,...

One in four UK companies have dismissed employees for Internet misconduct, the majority of which were for using online porn, according to a survey of 544 human resources (HR) managers and officers from some of Britain's largest corporations.

The scale of the problem is prompting many organisations to look at employee Internet management (EIM) software to enforce Internet access policy automatically.

Some 72% of UK firms have dealt with Internet misuse in the workplace and one in four companies have dismissed staff for misuse of the Internet, but this can be an expensive way of dealing with the problem.

"Dismissing an employee for Internet misuse is a substantial cost to the employer," said Jonathan Naylor, barrister in the Employment, Pensions and Benefits Group of lawyer Morgan Cole. A study by employment analysts Incomes Data Services last year found that the costs of replacing key staff could be as much as 150% of the employee's annual salary.

"Companies are, increasingly, looking to protect themselves and their employees from the legal implications from viewing pornography or downloading illegal software," said Geoff Haggart, vice-president at software vendor Websense.

"EIM software supports an organisation's efforts to improve employee productivity, conserve network bandwidth and save storage costs. It also automates management of the Internet and provides flexibility that enables employees to access acceptable content at appropriate times, such as their lunch hours."

The survey was carried out for Websense and Personnel Today magazine, a sister publication of CW360.com, The organisations surveyed had an average 2,500 employees.

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