I was recently terminated from employment after nearly four years as Senior Paralegal for a large public health system due to “excessive and unauthorized Internet usage”. The evidence against me was primarily a monthly Internet usage report for the preceding three month period. I was shocked at the number of Internet “hits” I was alleged to have accessed, which I calculated to be approximately 28,000 for the three month period. But I could not argue when the IT person swore that I had to have opened each and every hit. Then, just this past week, I was attending a private investigator’s conference and a computer forensic specialist gave a demonstration where he went to visit a single home page of a web site and then viwed his Internet history. His single page visit had generated 15 hits
I am not admitted to practice in Florida, but in most states, employment is "at will," and an employer doesn't usually need any reason at all -- unless its stated reason is merely a "pretext" for an illegal reason (such as unlawful discrimination based on race, sex, etc.) -- to terminate you. You may however want to speak to an employment lawyer in your area, because when a company has a stated policy, such as in this case presumably a computer use policy, it is not free to disregard its terms or to apply it haphazardly. You should be able to find one here on Avvo or at the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) website -- http://www.nela.org/NELA/.
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