Attention Cyber Monday Shoppers: You Can Get Fired for Shopping at Work

Retailers are already gearing up for the biggest online shopping day of the year known as Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving). Last year shoppers shattered previous sales records with a whopping 30% increase in online sales. About half of that shopping took place while at work, as employees returned from Thanksgiving break only to realize that they needed to get prepared for Christmas. But before you start chipping away at your shopping list while at work, here are some important things you should know:

Review your company’s Internet Policy:??Rules vary by organization, policies may change, and what was acceptable at your last job may not be alright at your current one. It is the employee’s responsibility to become familiar with company policy. Ignorance is not a good defense. Plus, some companies allow their employees to use their work computer for personal use during their lunch hour. Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies and plan accordingly.

Assume someone is watching you.??You may be the only one if the office, but don’t assume that you’re not being watched by your company. Many companies use software programs that gather data on employees’ Internet use through keystrokes and screen shots. From a legal standpoint, employees generally do not have a right to privacy when using company technology (computers, smartphones, tablets) and Internet connection provided by their employer. If you’re a worker employed by a governmental agency, your internet habits (and similar data) may be subject to disclosure through an open records request.

Know the risks of shopping online:??You can get fired. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 25% of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for nonwork-related activity. It’s a real consequence to what may seem like a harmless activity at the time.

The only thing worse than those January credit card bills is facing those bills without a job. Limit your shopping (and Internet usage) to the parameters set by your employer, and you’ll be in a better position to ensure that you still have a job to help fund future celebrations.

For more information about Employment Law, contact?Lajuana Ransaw?or call 770-957-3937.?Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the State of Georgia with expertise in this area of law. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and our community. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

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