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Too much time online can be misconduct

by on
in Firing,Human Resources

If you limit personal use of electronics and fire an employee for violating that rule, he can’t get unemployment benefits. Excess online time is misconduct under those circumstances.

Recent case: Thomas worked for a nonprofit for about a year until he was fired. The organization’s policy prohibited personal use of its computers, the Internet, cellphones and other employer-provided devices except for limited amounts of time. The policy specifically said that meant just a few minutes per day.

When Thomas’ productivity fell, his supervisor checked his Internet usage. She confronted him about the hours he spent online and fired him.

Thomas applied for unemployment, but the court said his conduct amounted to misconduct, since he knew about the policy. (Molony v. Illinois Department of Employment Security, No. 1-10-1872, Appellate Court of Illinois, 2012)

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