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Misconduct using internet viewing/downloading material unrelated to work

by Jose
(Miami, florida, Dade County)

I worked for an Airline company 7 years until May 11 2009 I was terminated. I was on a 3 day suspension not including days off as of May 7, 2009. On May 7 HR and my immediate supervisor had call me in for a conference regarding company policy. They put me on 3 day suspension because they said that the I.T department was having issues with viruses in there network. They said that while reviewing employee's personal folder in the system they found that I had downloaded PDF,Power pt. and word documents into my personal folder in the network system. They stated that I have violated company policy and I was suspended for 3 days. They said to call back on Monday (today) whether or not I will still have a job. I called HR today and they now added that the I.T department say's I was now linked in some sort of chat room on the internet using smiling faces back in April. At work MSN Instant msg is a part of our working tools in communicating with out stations. This is a tool that was downloaded by by the I.T department. No one in the company is able to download anything from the internet because they is an administrative block on any downloads. The bottom line internet usage and viewing is a part of my job duties msn instant msg is a part of the communication tool of my job duties, which by the way it was download by the IT department in the first place. Downloading is impossible because IT has and administrative block. And the personal documents that
was found in my personal folder was not downloaded from the internet it was personal file that i created and came from a USB flash drive. All in all in 7 years i was never given a warning verbal or written that i was violated company policy.

Hi Jose,

I'm going to approach your situation from the other side because I can barely point a mouse.

This is what I would recommend the employer make available to the state to prove misconduct.

1. The specific policy that was violated and your signed acknowledgment that you received the policy.

2. Computer logs, files or whatever necessary to prove it was your intentional and knowing act of misconduct that violated the policy.

3. An IT person who can explain in understandable language why #2 is the only possible conclusion to rebut what you say at the hearing .. just in case of an appeal or the documentation of the investigation.

All employers have rules that they consider one infraction of to be a terminating offense. In fact they often state the punishment for breaking a rule is anything "including up to termination".

But unemployment is decided on "reasonableness".

The rule and it's enforcement should be reasonable as well as our own judgment when we commit a volitional act. You have stated here you did nothing wrong per policy and because of administrative blocking of downloads.

Is there any reason they would be concerned about the content of the personal file?

What specifically does the policy state? Is the policy sufficient to have made you understand that you may be fired .. for what you did?

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