Three Welsh council workers have just lost their jobs for shopping on eBay during work time. In the last eighteen months two have resigned and one has been dismissed with two further employees under investigation.
All five employees came from Neath Port Talbot Council, the council have a policy of allowing employees to use the internet in their own time but not during working hours. Whilst the council have software in place to “prevent access to inappropriate websites” it doesn’t block access to eBay.
I’m in two minds here, on the one hand I used to advise on security policy and it should be written into employee contracts exactly what is and what isn’t allowed. The other side of the coin is of course it’s easy to block access to non-work websites, in fact it’s possible to block them at certain times of the day so that at lunch time or after five thirty they can be accessed but not during core working hours.
In this case I’d say the council is as much to blame as the employees, it’s all too tempting to take a quick look to see if your bid is still winning but it’s easy for the council to block preventing the problem occuring.
If you check eBay on your employers time on your employers computer using your employers internet access check your contract, if you’re caught it could cost you your job!