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April 25, 2006

NYC Employee Can't Be Fired for Internet Browsing

Ever do something on your work computer not related to work?  Lots of people do.  The consequences depend on the rules of the employer, but most places tolerate it.  New York City as an employer is not one of those places. 

The City apparently tried to fire one of its long-time employees in the Department of Education for ignoring supervisor warnings not to browse the Internet at work.  An investigation ensued which showed Toquir Choudhri had browsed news and travel sites.  Mayor Bloomberg had fired an employee in the Albany legislative offices when he noticed a game of solitaire on the worker's computer.

This time, however, the union representing Choudhri challenged the dismissal and won.  Judge John Spooner from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings decided that the City lets employees take personal calls or do other things such as reading newspapers as long as the activity doesn't interfere with the work.  There was no evidence that Choudhri ignored his work or let it slip.

At worst, Choudhri gets a letter of reprimand in his employment file.  The better part of this result is that the solitaire playing employee now has a chance as well.

While Mayor Bloomberg may take a hard line on goofing off while on City time, I wonder if he devotes every waking moment to making the city a better place to live.

CNET, the Boston Herald, and the New York Daily News  have the story.

April 25, 2006 | Permalink

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