Judge Rules Reprimand is Appropriate for Worker Using Internet

April 24, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Administrative Law Judge John Spooner decided that only a reprimand is appropriate as punishment for a New York City worker accused of failing to heed warnings to stay off the Internet.

The Associated Press reports that, in his decision in the case of Toquir Choudhri, a 14-year veteran of the Department of Education who had been accused of ignoring supervisors who told him to stop browsing the Internet at work, Spooner compared surfing the web to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone.  

In his decision, according to the AP, Spooner wrote, “It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work.” He pointed out that many companies allow personal telephone calls as long as they do not interfere with work and many apply the same rules to personal Internet usage.

A search of Choudhri’s computer files showed he had visited several news and travel sites.

This February, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a city worker fired for playing solitaire on his computer at his desk (See Bloomberg to Workplace Solitaire Players: Quit It ).