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Internet mis-use – Can you discipline staff?

Internet mis-use – Can you discipline staff?

Are you struggling with a problem staff member who is (mis)using your company internet connection when they are supposed to be working? Before you start a disciplinary procedure, make sure you’ve covered all the bases.


Before you can even think about disciplining staff for their surfing habits, you need to make sure you have a company internet usage policy within your staff handbook or contract of employment.

According to Amanda Fielding of A J HR Solutions, “Companies trying to discipline their employees for internet misuse need to ensure their policies are up to date, and cover the misdemeanour in question, otherwise they will be opening themselves up to the possibility of a legal challenge in the future if an employee was dismissed for this issue”.

While we’re on the topic of policies, it’s worth remembering that you can also have a social media policy, which lays out what your staff shouldn’t say on the company and their own social media pages. Having this simply policy in place allows you to quickly sort any issues such as your staff complaining about you or your customers on Twitter or Facebook. Again, without this policy you may struggle to legally stop a disgruntled employee saying what they like about your company and clients on their own personal social media accounts.


Once you have your policies in place, you need to be able to prove that your employee truly has been abusing their internet privileges.  The easiest way to do this is to ensure that you’ve got a system in place that allows you to log staff internet usage as well as control where they can and can’t go.

Untangle is the system we recommend for this purpose. It enables you to drill down to see what has been accessed by a certain logged in user, on a certain computer, on a certain day. You can set the system up to block access to certain websites, or just use the system to monitor and report of staff internet usage.


Once you have both your policies in place, and your monitoring working, then you’re ready to apply disciplinary procedures to those employees who are misbehaving.

If you need help with getting your policies and procedures in place, we can highly recommend A J HR Solutions. If you need help with blocking staff internet, or reporting on their usage, then give us a call!


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