Internet management in the office has become one of the major concerns of companies because, it must be noted, employees no longer hesitate to use the Internet for personal purposes in the office. While some companies tolerate or even accept it, others repress it and provide for disciplinary sanctions.
Use of the Internet in the office for personal purposes
– A possibility to prohibit the use of the internet
Many companies continue to prohibit personal Internet use during working hours because it hurts employee productivity. Abusive use represents a waste of time which can prove to be considerable for the employee, some employees sometimes going so far as to hang out all day on the web.
To counteract this overuse, some companies incorporate this prohibition in their internal regulations and do not hesitate to put restraints to prevent access. It must be said that the use of the Internet for personal purposes can quickly jeopardize computer security of the company and that improper use may result in the joint and several liability of the company in the event of infringements perpetrated by the employee on the web during working hours.
– A use not permitted by law
While some employees believe that they have the right to use the Internet for personal purposes in their workplace in a limited way, it should be noted that no text in force grants this right (during working hours). Moreover, it is still advisable to use your smartphone if you want to do so during your break hours.
If the employee can protect certain communications by putting “personal” in the subject of these messages, he can be sanctioned when they take place during working hours. Some do not hesitate to lay off their employees. It should be noted that the company must only proceed with the dismissal if it suffers considerable damage and the sanctions pronounced against the culprit must remain proportional to the fault committed. Abusive use of the Internet is often measured by the number of files downloaded, the duration of the connection or the type of sites consulted.
There is a reservation to the ban: article L. 1121-1 which provides that the ban on using the internet in the workplace must be justified by the nature of the tasks to be performed and proportional to the aim sought.
Limitation of Internet access possible
Some companies restrict Internet access to allow reasonable Internet usage. Some accept its use for personal purposes but, in this case, the company must adopt a (computer) charter. This makes it possible to set the rules of use and the conditions for controlling access. Thus, they can surf in the office on a personal basis, especially during break hours. This practice provides a double advantage: the employee can satisfy his personal needs without compromising the interests of the company and the latter avoids tarnishing its image.
Contrary to popular belief, the company can completely monitor internet usage and check the browsing history of employees’ computers even without you being present. The main purpose of the control is to prevent any offenses committed by the employee on the web from causing him damage. This was confirmed by the Court of Cassation on July 9, 2008, saying “the connections established by an employee on websites during his working time using the computer tool made available to him by his employer for the performance of his work are presumed to be of a professional nature so that the employer can search for the purpose of identifying them, out of his presence”.
To avoid having to control connections, some companies opt for filtering. It should be noted that the employer can completely consult the files and the emails on the employee’s computer for professional use even in the absence of the latter, except in the case of files where the mention “personal” is indicated.