Wrongful termination due to appropriate use of computer

My employer set up computers at my jobsite for billing. Staff at the jobsite share the same computer. When the system was set up, I asked my supervisor what would happen if someone used it inappropriately. He said not to worry if I only used the billing program. When we first started using the computer, we found some sites listed in the favorites and reported the problem to upper management. My supervisor said that it was another department's problem. An employee under my supervision was viewing photos of bare-breasted women. I told him that he should not be doing that. Recently I logged on to have a porn site pop up. I reported the problem. Now, I have been terminated for allowing another employee to visit porn sites. I have never received any guidelines from management. Is this wrongful termination?

1 answer  |  asked Nov 26, 2005 4:48 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Unfair discharge is not wrongful discharge

Unfortunately, the fact that your termination was very unfair does not make it wrongful. To prove a wrongful discharge, you must prove that the reason for your termination violated public policy. "Public policy" includes specific laws prohibiting certain kinds of discrimination (race, sex, religion, age, national origin, color, disability). It also includes laws specifically intended to protect employees in taking certain actions (worker compensation protections, the right to vote, jury service, membership in the National Guard, demanding minimum wage & overtime). Finally, a discharge can violate public policy if it is done in retaliation for refusing to engage in criminal conduct or reporting unlawful conduct (whistleblowing). Your situation doesn't appear to fit any of these categories, and does not appear to raise any issue of public concern. Internet pornography is not unlawful, so reporting someone's viewing it is not "whistleblowing." A company's policies regarding such activities are purely private and internal rules that do not involve issues of public policy.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Nov 28, 2005 11:28 AM [EST]

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