I hate stupid lawsuits. What a waste of society’s time and energy. But to the point:
I’ve been pretty involved in the evolution of chat on the Internet (I founded ichat back in 1995) and I find this particularly amusing. The article opens with this:
A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.
So let’s dismantle this real quick:
- The guy makes $65,000 a year – what possible basis does he have for a $5 million claim? Ludicrous.
- And then there is:
“Plaintiff was discharged by IBM because he visited an Internet chat room for a sexual experience during work after he had been previously warned,” the company said.
Ridiculous claim. Previously warned. STFU.
Anyway, moving on. This scares me:
If it goes to trial, the case could affect how employers regulate Internet use that is not work-related, or how Internet overuse is categorized medically. Stanford University issued a nationwide study last year that found that up to 14 percent of computer users reported neglecting work, school, families, food and sleep to use the Internet.
So I have some other behavior disorders we should tolerate in the workplace:
- Laziness. I know a lot of people that have this affliction. Especially with periodic, but extreme bouts.
- Apathy. (Also malaise, ennui.) Similar to laziness, this can have a visible impact on workplace productivity.
You know, I thought about making a long list, but you probably get the picture. Business exist to do business, not to entertain their employees. Certainly companies that keep their employees happy, motivated, and energized, are going to be more successful in most cases. But employees that don’t do their job or take advantage of the trust their employers deserver to be fired.
One more thing. Imagine if TVs were required for work in a modern office environment (as, I’m sure you’ve noticed, are computers). This article would read:
John Doe sued IBM today for $5 million dollars because he was terminated for watching 3 hours a day of the Yound and the Restless at work. He claimed a television addiction and that he should be given treatment options rather than fired.
People would laugh at that. It’s not like people have the right to smoke in the office any more and that’s an actual addiction. No one is suing about that…. because they would get laughed out of court.