Surf at Work

Pakistani Surfer wins court battle in NYC

How many of us surf at work on non work related stuff ?? All of us. Infact I could gaurantee that many of you are reading this post at work. While I will not go into the moral, ethical and legal issues regarding surfing while at work, here is an interesting story that has been developing here in NYC.

Toquir Choudhari, originally from Pakistan, works for the Department of Education. He is the Advertising Coordinatori in the Personnel Division of the DeptofEd, NYC.

Well, he was pulled up by his superiors at work because he was surfing on the internet incessantly.

14-year employee Toquir Choudhri was brought up on charges of disobeying a supervisor’s order to stop surfing the ‘Net. [ link ]

His computer was confiscated and the files on his machine were checked. The sites he visited included cnn.com, cbs.com, humanesociety.com, chinaadvisor.com, islands.com and escapeartist.com. Nothing really questionable. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I can just imagine what would have happened if he was surfing on some jehadi, islamic, pro-pakistani, or anti-US website ? I am sure that this controversey would have taken a completely different flavour. As was noted recently here on nVa, an Indian was in the news for anti-Bush comments and put in the dock.

Toquir Choudhari was not found guilty as charged. All he got was a reimpremand from the judge for not listening to his superiors.

Saying surfing the web is equivalent to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone, an administrative law judge has suggested that only a reprimand is appropriate as punishment for a city worker accused of failing to heed warnings to stay off the Internet. [ link ]

This seems to be a reversal of policy for the state and the city. In recent past, Mayor Michael Bloomberg fired Edward Greenwood for playing solitair at work [ link ]

As usual when something controversial is happening, can a lawyer be far away.

Choudhri’s lawyer Martin Druyer has this to say, while subtly advertising his services to Edward Greenwood.

Spooner’s decision would certainly come in handy if the Albany worker, Edward Greenwood IX, went to court to seek his old job.

“If your workload is such that you take a minute to play solitaire and it doesn’t interfere with work, should you get fired?” [ link ]

The same lawyer goes on to reason his client’s use of the internet

The workload at that particular office was such that there was downtime – all the people in the office were going on the Web now and then when the phones weren’t ringing [ link ]

This whole episode just highlights some of the new work place related problems in the new age of information technology. Ease of internet use especially here in the US, brings up issues of productivity.

I personally think that moderate use of the Internet for non-work related reasons is OK. It sums up to the same thing as going downstairs for a smoke, or spending 5 minutes in the pantry making coffe and chatting up. And especially valid in jobs where you spend a lot more time in office than outside.

With the convenience of doing nearly everything from banking to grocery, the reasons for not using the internet are lesser and far in between.

Can you think of any reasons why internet use should be banned completely ??

Disclaimer: This post was typed while at work, while I was on my lunchbreak. And if you get into trouble for commenting from work, you are on your own.

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