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Travel Firm fires staff over e-porn

Holiday specialist Thomson has sacked or severely reprimanded a number of employees after they were discovered downloading what the company described as ‘very disturbing’ pictures.

The case highlights the need for employers to develop a formal Internet policy, and to make sure that staff are aware of its contents.

The holiday company said it had sent all its employees a copy of its internet use policy and that managers were explaining its ramifications to staff.

Its not looking at the material, it is passing it on and downloading material that is serious.  You can’t stop people sending you things but if you chose to send it on to other people, that would be a breach,” said a spokesman.

Thomson said only a handful of staff had been sacked and that most of them were junior staff.  It confirmed that others were being severely reprimanded.

“Some people had received material via e-mail and were then pushing it around the company or sending it to other people in different companies,” Shaun Powell, managing director, told Computer Weekly’s sister paper Travel Weekly.

Lawyers have urged companies to ensure that their Internet policies give specific guidelines about what staff can and cannot do with the Internet.  Firms that fail to have specific policies could face claims of unfair dismissal if it is not clear what rules have been broken.

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