Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IBM Sued for Firing Alleged Internet Addict

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-have-been-told-the-internet-is-for-porn dept.

The Internet 341

globring sent us a link to a CNN article covering a trial with a unique defense. James Pacenza, a 58 year old Alabama man, has been fired from his position at IBM for visiting adult sites during working hours. The man is now suing the company for $5 Million, alleging that he is an internet addict. The plaintiff claims he visits these sites as a way of dealing with traumatic stress incurred in the Vietnam War. He claims that while he is addicted to sex and the internet, he never visited adult sites at work. Age-related issues, he says, are the cause of his filing. IBM, on its part, says that Pacenza was warned during a similar incident several months ago. Pacenza denies this as well.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Someone's lying here... (4, Informative)

BTWR (540147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061644)

"He claims that while he is addicted to sex and the internet, he never visited adult sites at work."

The CNN article states that this wasn't his first warning: ""Plaintiff was discharged by IBM because he visited an Internet chat room for a sexual experience during work after he had been previously warned," the company said."

Unique Defense? (3, Interesting)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061660)

It's more like bullshit defense. I wouldn't be surprised if IBM kept logs of their worker activities at work - if he was fired for this incident *after already having been warned once* he wasn't cheated out of his job.

Re:Someone's lying here... (2, Insightful)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061688)

Well, the servers definitely don't lie... unless he was in a position where he had access to the logs.

Re:Someone's lying here... (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061894)

IBM has access to the logs?

Re:Someone's lying here... (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062340)

If a tree falls in the forest, is it logged?

Re:Someone's lying here... (2)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062434)

Only if the admin hears it..

Re:Someone's lying here... (1, Insightful)

karinneandressa (1065674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061722)

I find that Internet in the work must only serve for work, if the person has access something that does not have, puts its job in question. http://blog.fenon.com.br/ [fenon.com.br]

Re:Someone's lying here... (4, Interesting)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061760)

Well he denies the previous warning and I imagine the "im a victim of internet addiction" is a little bit of legal smoke and mirrors but it's not impossible for someone with PTSD. Either way though this guy was 6 months shy of retirement and with IBM's track-record of less than perfect dealings with retirees pensions, I think there is more to this story than we can gather from the CNN article. I think it would be interesting to know if someone reported him because they were bothered by what they saw on his screen or if some HR manager asked IT to troll through his internet connection logs looking for something incriminating.

Re:Someone's lying here... (5, Insightful)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062008)

Like you inferred, I believe it mainly is age discrimination here. His lawyer even cites two people making snu-snu on a desk at IBM and they were just transferred. Also, I think you're right about them trolling his station, for the simple reason that before stomping off to a manager, common decency says you (the co-worker) turn off the monitor for him and have a talk with him personally. And, as this plaintiff cites, after 19 years of service to IBM, you would think his superiors would make every effort possible to salvage this man's reputation with a paid vacation for clinical counseling. This does smack of age discrimination. It really is in IBM's interest to settle this case. I wish the Vet well.

Snu snu?? (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062292)

Snu-snu... like sex to death snu-snu?

Why would anyone in that office want to retire before death?

Re:Snu snu?? (5, Informative)

Skater (41976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062354)

I think snu-snu is just sex. The punishment was "death by snu-snu". That implies that snu-snu does not always involve death, sort of like how "death by misadventure" doesn't imply that misadventure always leads to death.

(That's one of my favorite episodes.)

Re:Snu snu?? (0, Offtopic)

vcalzone (977769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062498)

How I wish I had points to mod that up.

Re:Someone's lying here... (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062316)

I don't see the connection between his surfing of sexually explicit chat rooms and PTSD. It seems somewhat tenuous that there is an apparent failure to accept that some links are NSFW and others are not. The fact that there appears the ex employee was deliberately looking for those sorts of sites on company time made him a liability whether or not he had a disability. It is not usually the case that individuals are granted accommodations which could result in employer aimed sexual harassment lawsuits. Obviously, there is more to this than what is presently known, but the assumption that this was a result of his being near retirement is not necessarily fair, even at IBM. If IBM has proper records of his being chastised for doing this in the past, then IBM really ought to be allowed to fire the guy. One of the big problems with the workplace presently is that it is nearly impossible to actually fire an older employee, because clearly the only reason why one would possibly want to do so is to avoid paying for retirement. It is a real question in my mind as to why those approaching retirement should get protection for misbehavior. The protections were meant to assure that employees wouldn't be dumped just prior to being vested in the retirement program. Not as in all too many cases where they have legitimately broken serious regulations.

Correction (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062324)

Accoring to the article he was discovered by a fellow employee but I think questions still remain and the case isnt as open and shut (and funny) as it first appears.

What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (1, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061838)

Why should compamies feel that they should be the moral guardians of their employees?

Surely the test should be whether you use company resources for personal reasons. So long as the usage is actuually legal, surely it should not matter what sites you visit. Bible quote website, /., dilbert, tits & ass... what gives any company the right to discriminate?

Re:What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (4, Informative)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061878)

Because you are using the company's resources, and that means you must follow their rules. If you use IBM's computer, and use their internet connection during time they are paying you to work, then they had every right to fire this guy if he was visiting porn sites. I'm sure there is an employee handbook detailing what is considered appropriate computer use at work. Every employer I've worked for has made it pretty explicit.

Its just like you can't use racial slurs, sexually charged language, and other offensive things at work. Someone could be walking by, see your porn on your workstation, and be offended.

Re:What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (3, Interesting)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062284)

So the boss is the boss, right?

By your logic, the company could also legitimately discriminate on the basis of politics, colour or religion. After all, it's their computer, right?

Hmm, our logs say you visited a Hindu website last month. Sorry, this is a Lutheran workplace; you're fired for abuse of work resources.

If an employer wants to make a rule that work computers can only be used for work, then fine. If an employer wants to make a rule that you can't stop work to read a newspaper at work, then fine. But if they start applying these unevenly, allowing employees to waste time all day on personal e-mails, irrelevant websites and tabloid newspapers, and then only jump on the employee visiting a site or reading a paper they don't like, then that's illegitimate control.

There is another aspect too: I used to work for Coca-Cola Italy. There a top-ranking manager told me that logs indicating visits to porn sites were something they specifically trawled for and then kept on file. Then, later in that person's career, if the company wanted to give him the boot without the usual legal and financial hassles, they could simply declare they had just discovered the logs, and according to the employment contract the guy's job was immediately terminated.

Re:What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062388)

Its just like you can't use racial slurs, sexually charged language, and other offensive things at work. Someone could be walking by, see your porn on your workstation, and be offended.

This kind of shit disgusts me. I started working in a steel mill in Buffalo in the 1950s. You should have heard some of the stuff that basically everyone there would say. It was some of the raunchiest, dirtiest, filthiest motherfucking stuff that you could ever imagine.

But you know what? Nobody went stupid about it, and got "offended". Yeah, you'd hear things that you didn't like to think about. People would say mean things. But like the old saying goes, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I'd like to extend it beyond words, to pornographic pictures on a co-workers computer. You may not like seeing a woman getting bukkaked or taking four dicks at once. But even if you do see such an image, it won't hurt you.

In any case, it's disgraceful that the typical American workplace has become so sanitized and pussified. Not speaking your mind is not what America is about. America is about saying it as it is, even if it makes some people feel like crap. America is about freedom of expression. My father took bullets in France so that people 60 years later could speak their mind whenever they wanted, and not so they could go to work everday in fear of saying the wrong thing or looking at the wrong web site.

I'm damn glad I'm retired. I'm sure I'd get in a whole heap of shit for pointing out the stupidity of subordinates, or just for looking at some good, wholesome titty on my lunch break.

Re:What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (5, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061884)

Allowing employees to visit adult sites may create a hostile work environment and sets you up for a lawsuit from other employees who might see it and be offended. You may be able to get away with it when it's you and a couple of buddies starting up, but when your profits are in the billions, you're a giant stack of cash waiting for the first person to claim sexual harassment.

The flip side to that argument. (1, Offtopic)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062344)

Just changing two words: "Allowing employees to visit religous sites may create a hostile work environment and sets you up for a lawsuit from other employees who might see it and be offended. You may be able to get away with it when it's you and a couple of buddies starting up, but when your profits are in the billions, you're a giant stack of cash waiting for the first person to claim religous harassment."

Re:What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (1)

Miguelito (13307) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061892)

Why should compamies feel that they should be the moral guardians of their employees?


Hah. Companies don't have rules against things like adult sites because they want to be moral guardians, they do it because they're afraid of being sued. You don't have rules against visiting such sites during the day and someone else who IS offended by the stuff will sue for something like "creating a hostile workplace" if/when they see it on someone else's screen.

Most companies probably couldn't care less if it weren't for the legal issues they can run into if they don't have the rules.

Re:What about visiting Bible sites or /.? (4, Insightful)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062368)

"what gives any company the right to discriminate?"

The federal government gives them the obligation to discriminate. If the manager hadn't taken action, the employee who had caught him could have sued for sexual harassment, arguing that the sexual content on the computer made for a hostile work environment.

Reminds me of an incident that I once dealt with. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062014)

This reminds me of an incident I once saw while working IT at a fairly major firm.

One of the VPs called us into his office to report a problem with his computer. Apparently somebody had ejaculated all over his keyboard. He wanted us to get rid of the soiled keyboard, and bring him a new one. Not really being in a position to ask questions, we just did what he wanted.

About a week later, the same VP is on the phone, telling us that there's more ejaculate on his keyboard. So we bring him a new keyboard, yet again.

Another week or so later, we get a third call from the same VP. This time we went to the President of the firm, and reported this incident to him. He assured us he would look into it. I'm not sure exactly what the outcome was, but the VP ended up leaving his job soon after. According to some of the secretaries near his office, there was a pretty serious confrontation between him and the President of the company. One of the secretaries quoted part of the VP's yelling: "Yes, I got my sperm on the keyboard! It's because I have a fucking masturbation addition!"

Re:Reminds me of an incident that I once dealt wit (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062132)

About a week later, the same VP is on the phone, telling us that there's more ejaculate on his keyboard


So many jokes come to mind that my head just exploded. Is there somebody I can sue?

Sigh. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061654)

If people would actually take responsibility for their actions then this country might not be so bad.

Re:Sigh. (5, Funny)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061784)

Thanks for the insight, Anonymous Coward.

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061920)

apparently the mods today dont appreciate the pointing out of irony ;(

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062246)

Right back at ya, "beakerMeep"! :)

Re:Sigh. (1)

superangrybrit (600375) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061890)

Playing the victim game brings more cash.

Re:Sigh. (1, Flamebait)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062470)

Ok, your friend got killed. We're sorry about that. Really. But it was 38 years ago, ferchistsake! How long does it take for a man to adjust to a misfortune and stop being a victim of it?

My Rights Online? (3, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061658)

IBM has been violating my rights to have a job there. Who knew?

This has apparently been going on a long time, since I've never worked at IBM.

I think IBM owes us all some back pay.

Re:My Rights Online? (1)

somekids (1047140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061750)

What EXACTLY is internet addiction? Is it actually a documented phenomenon?

Re:My Rights Online? (2, Informative)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061926)

Apparently it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_addiction [wikipedia.org]

Re:My Rights Online? (1)

GringoCroco (889095) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062500)

one of the diagnostic criteria:
5. A great deal of time is spent in activities related to Internet use (for example, buying Internet books, trying out new WWW browsers, researching Internet vendors, organizing files of downloaded materials).

buying Internet books - every Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc. client ...
trying out new WWW browsers - normal people stick to IE, the rest (a.k.a. the sick) use different WWW browsers
researching Internet vendors - you realize AOL sucks ... so what do you do?
organizing files of downloaded materials - organizing files of non-downloaded materials is not such a biggie, it's good to have order in your files. But not in your downloaded files.

Re:My Rights Online? (2, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061966)

Usually when you focus on some self-gratifiying behavior to the detriment of everything else (job, spouse, family, friends, etc.) they'll slap the "addiction" label on it. Such destructive behaviors can be sex, gambling, video games, and yes, the internet.

Re: My Rights Online? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061846)

(..) since I've never worked at IBM.

Are you sure you still want to get a job there? I mean, it looks like you're not even allowed to surf porn while at work.

That is silly! What else are those company networks good for?

Re:My Rights Online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062442)

> IBM has been violating my rights to have a job there. Who knew?

So you're a porn addict too huh?

I think a class action could be pretty fruitful. You should get it started...

WTF? (5, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061668)

The only way I see ANY logic in this, is if Internet Addiction is considered a disability.... which causes you to look at porn... right.

Maybe I can get away with classifying my need to punch stupid people in the face as a disability. After all, I shouldn't be fired for that :I

Re:WTF? (3, Interesting)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061736)

I was under the impression that addiction to pornography is a real, recognized psychological problem. He could very well be telling the truth, in a way.

Of course, either way, this guy is screwed: it's not illegal discrimination to fire someone for mental issues, especially when they affect work performance or atmosphere. The whole point of anti-discrimination laws is to stop people from firing others for stuff that doesn't affect those things.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061992)

Sounds like his "logic" is that his addiction is a disability, and it is illegal to discriminate against someone solely on the basis of a disability.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062082)

illegal to discriminate against someone solely on the basis of a disability
IANAL, But I can't imagine it would be against the law to discriminate against someone solely on the basis of a disability if it could be proven that it is detrimental to the job performance. Chauffers must be able to see, for example.

Re:WTF? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062490)

Well given diabilities deserve special accomidations. There is no reason IBM couldn't have just shut off of heavily filtered his internet especially if he was having trouble controlling himself and asked for help.

Pulease (3, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061670)

He says he's "an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal".

Sounds like he indeed visited during work hours or he wouldn't have had a reason at all to say this. It's IBM's system and rules. Tuff if you can't keep your hands (mental or physical) out of your pants at the job.

Re:Pulease (1)

gettingbraver (987276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062006)

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.
Wonder how his traumatic stress has been treated since 1969?

Re:Pulease (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062462)

The plaintiff makes veterans look bad, and as a vet he should fscking well know how to obey orders.

As a G.I. soon to be in the civilian sector, woe betide any vet who tries to bullshit me about their problems.
If they have PTSD I will offer to go WITH them to the local VA and make damn sure they get help. If they are lying, that'll get documented too.

Fails the straight face test (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061690)

"Your Honor, IBM fired me because they failed to give me the right to watch porn rather than working while on the job." Seriously, no sane judge is going to allow that to get by the inevitable dismissal motion by IBM.

Re:Fails the straight face test (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061792)

Presumably by whipping out the `addiction` card it becomes somebody elses fault. If he's not capable of doing his job because he's spending too much time on porn sites, he's not much use to a company, just like if he's rendered himself useless through drink or drugs.

Re:Fails the straight face test (5, Insightful)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061900)

Companies fire people all the time for addiction. Why else would they make you take drug tests pre-employment and sometimes during employment? If you are addicted to drugs and show up to work high, you're gonna get fired. Why should it be different if you're addicted to porn and look at it at work, on the company's computer?

Re:Fails the straight face test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061804)

"Your Honor, IBM fired me because they failed to give me the right to watch porn rather than working while on the job." Seriously, no sane judge is going to allow that to get by the inevitable dismissal motion by IBM.
What about that Oklahoma judge who was caught masturbating during trial?

Re:Fails the straight face test (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061844)

Not only did you misrepresent the defense of the man stated in the article (it was sexually explicit chat rooms, not pr0n) but im glad our legal system doesnt have a "if it fails the straight face test" clause.

Re:Fails the straight face test (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062128)

The legal version of the "it fails the straight face test" is that the judge must be able to read your argument without laughing at its stupidity. In other words, it's another way of saying that your case must have a leg to stand on. And even if it's sexually explicit chat rooms rather than porn, IBM still can simply argue that he wasn't doing his job.

Re:Fails the straight face test (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062242)

Well I think your right in that IBM has a legal advantage here but I feel bad for this guy. It's pretty rough to lose a pension for entering a chat room after 19 years of service. It may not be that he wasnt doing his job either, because he may have done it durring lunch break. The point I was making is that, on the surface i thought this was pretty funny too, but it's important not to jump to conclusions based on how rediculous a case sounds. I think the PTSD is legally a weak argument but if IBMs policy states you cant visit pornagraphy websites, and he was on yahoo chat, then it isnt obvious he was violating any policy. Suppose he was visiting wired sex tech article, or a sex-relationship blog without pictures? Just food for thought. I'm not saying the guy is right, just let's not lynch him before all the evidence is in.

His defense really makes sense.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061704)

...at least more than that slownewsday SCO BS.

Re:His defense really makes sense.. (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061730)

SCO has the patent on "internet addiction" and is suing the man.

Blatant nitpickery (4, Informative)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061716)

Technically, it's not "a unique defense." Pacenza is the plaintiff, not the defendant.

Re:Blatant nitpickery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061918)

He is defending his actions that caused him to get fired.

Nitpick yourself bonehead.

Nitpicks matter in the law (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061994)

He is defending his actions that caused him to get fired.

The point of an unlawful termination suit is to show that the employer broke the law. In raising that claim, he is opening himself to attack from the defense, which will point out the legality of their actions by showing that homeboy was doing things he wasn't supposed to be doing.

As long as they were within their legal rights in firing him, the fact that he was traumatized in the Vietnam War or has an addiction to porn don't really matter. My understanding is that they only matter if he can prove that he was fired because he had these problems, not because of their effect on his work.

I'm addicted to not working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061728)

...so MS has agreed not to fire me from the hotfix team. They are much more enlightened than IBM.

BOFH did it first! (5, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061742)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/29/bofh_2004_ episode_24/ [theregister.co.uk]

"I don't actually think you CAN fire me for browsing porn.."

"Why not?"

"Well, I think I'm addicted to porn."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Addicted. To porn."

"You're joking!"

"Oh no. You see I'm fairly sure that the browsing of porn causes the release of testosterone, endorphins or something like that, which in turn causes a pleasure response in the body - or so my doctor will tell me if I ask. I'm addicted to that pleasure response, in much the same way as a drug addict is addicted to the pleasure they obtain from their drugs."

"So you're saying you have no control over your actions?"

"None."

"And you.... Believe that this is somehow the company's problem?"

"Oh no."

"Good."

"No, I think it's the company's fault. It's completely different."

"I think you'll find that to demonstrate fault, the company would have to be aware of a problem."

"They are. I filled out a workplace hazard form about it six months ago."

Just to move away from the precise issue for the (2, Interesting)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061748)

moment. It seems that the number of things that count as disabilities has become insane.
On the current criteria, I'm slightly bemused as to why 'being thick' isn't allowed to count. It's not your fault, it puts you at a disadvantage, you can't change it etc.
Could anybody tell me why it's OK to discriminate against people being stupid in the workplace, but it's not if the mental/physical disability has a nice name?

Re:Just to move away from the precise issue for th (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061848)

I agree. If someone is unable to do their job and unwilling to try to change, I don't think the employer should have to keep paying them. I can understand a requirement that an employer not fire an employee who is going through some legitimate form of rehab for an addiction, but if the employee isn't doing anything about their problem, the employer shouldn't have to put up with it.

Re:Just to move away from the precise issue for th (2, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062210)

Could anybody tell me why it's OK to discriminate against people being stupid in the workplace

No, it is not okay to discriminate against stupid people, at least in the USA. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Griggs vs Duke Power [wikipedia.org] that people could not be hired or promoted on the basis of general intelligence.

Internet Addict? (5, Insightful)

nate nice (672391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061766)

Sounds like he's a sex addict! Just because he's using the Internet to fuel his obvious sex addiction doesn't make him an Internet addict. It's like saying someone who uses magazines to get their porn is a magazine addict.

You're not addicted to the medium, you're addicted to the content.

Re:Internet Addict? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062094)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a sex addict be addicted to, you know, having sex? Maybe pornography addict (which pretty much implies no sex).

Re:Internet Addict? (4, Funny)

GregGardner (66423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062314)

I'm not an alcoholic! I'm just addicted to using lowball glasses. I'm a lowball glass addict. It's just that my lowball glasses always seem to be filled with bourbon.

Duhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061770)

They should just fire him for being stupid. He must be borderline retarded to think that IBM doesn't keep traffic logs on their network.

So what did he do... (1)

bird603568 (808629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061774)

in between leaving Vietnam and when there was easily accessible porn on the internet?

IBM is not a good place to work. (3, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061822)

Much better is where the boss sends you the porn via email so you don't go having to look for it, and also pays your green fees when it's time to go playing golf.

If you dont have either of the above, consider seeking alternative employment.

Re:IBM is not a good place to work. (1)

rajafarian (49150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062010)

That reminds me of when I worked for a national ISP and we had to test parental control software. "Hey, guys, look I can go to Persiankitty just fine!" For a whole day!

Is addiction a valid safety-net anyhow? (4, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061832)

I think that there seems to be confusion between addiction and disability. While you might not fire somebody for a recognised disability (and some addictions tend to fall along those categories), I've never heard of having to hold on to somebody because they're addicted.

If that were the case, it would mean that when Bobby and Johnny get caused smoking pot in the back during work hours, or when Sally gets caught with a needle in her veins in the washroom, they could claim that the company could not fire them because they were addicts. I think not.

Re:Is addiction a valid safety-net anyhow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061858)

The plaintiff said that IBM typically DOES offer treatment to alocholics and other drug addicts. More compelling, he also cites other cases of more significant sexual problems on the job. The guy may be a nut, and it may not play in court, but he's got a couple of points that do evoke my sympathy.

Re:Is addiction a valid safety-net anyhow? (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062260)

I'm a Resident Assistant/Leasing Consultant at the student housing development I live at, and here's the Fair Housing Act standard:

If drug use is current, they are not a protected class.
If drug use is current, but they are enrolled in some sort of drug treatment program, they ARE a protected class, and you cannot discriminate on them.

Re:Is addiction a valid safety-net anyhow? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062382)

On the other hand, is it not perfectly legal to consider someone in breach of their lease if they engage in criminal activity on the premises?

Bullshit (2, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061850)

This sounds like a bullshit complaint that's about a bitter loser denying reality. Remember, anyone can file a complaint; whether it goes anywhere is what matters, and I doubt this one will. Big companies like IBM have checklists for firing people, and if they're saying they warned him months ago, they've almost certainly got it in writing. They've probably also got logs showing his workstation accessing porn. And as for Internet Addiction, even established addictions don't prevent you from getting fired--being addicted to heroin, for example, won't save your job just because you're legitimately, medically addicted to something everyone agrees is uncontrollable.

Might have a Case with the punishment differential (4, Insightful)

dave1g (680091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061860)

Pacenza: Couple who had sex on desk merely transferred

He argues that other workers with worse offenses were disciplined less severely -- including a couple who had sex on a desk and were transferred.

Fred McNeese, a spokesman for Armonk-based IBM, would not comment.

Pacenza claims the company decided on dismissal only after improperly viewing his medical records, including psychiatric treatment, following the incident.

"In IBM management's eyes, plaintiff has an undesirable and self-professed record of psychological disability related to his Vietnam War combat experience," his papers claim.

Diederich says IBM workers who have drug or alcohol problems are placed in programs to help them, and Pacenza should have been offered the same. Instead, he says, Pacenza was told there were no programs for sex addiction or other psychological illnesses. He said Pacenza was also denied an appeal.

Diederich, who said he spent a year in Iraq as an Army lawyer, also argued that "A military combat veteran, if anyone, should be afforded a second chance, the benefit of doubt and afforded reasonable accommodation for combat-related disability."

Re:Might have a Case with the punishment different (3, Informative)

Courageous (228506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061958)

I would have to admit that if one employee views porn at work, and another set of employees FUCK at work, and their treatments by management are starkly different, with this person approaching a big retirement pension, the situation rather does look something like selective preferential enforcement. One of the reasons corporate consul will recommended treating all employees the same and have equitable and equally enforced policy is exactly because disparate treatment makes a good argument for a hidden agenda in court.

C//

Re:Might have a Case with the punishment different (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062022)

Interesting. Not having a program for "programs for sex addiction or other psychological illnesses" may cause them for problems.
There has been some rulings (in Mass) that said that disability insurance companies can't discriminate between mental and physical disabilities.

We a very grateful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18061874)

...'cause now everybody will install filters and proxies so d***heads and c***suckers can't surf'n'sue them when discovered.
He is btw. not addicted to the Internet... he is a freak addicted to porn. He and his lawyers has just destroyed the fun of surfing porn at work for everybody else.

Americans with Disabilities Act (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061888)

Does not cover everything. For example, kleptomania is not considered a "disability" under the act, and I doubt being addicted to the Internet is really much different.

Amazing, I was able to use the mandatory ethics training I had to take at work in a conversation....hooray! Maybe?

Re:Americans with Disabilities Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062164)

What about an addiction to kicking authority figures in the nuts?

Re:Americans with Disabilities Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062432)

That doesn't qualify as a disability, just a 'strong sense of justice'.

Frivolous suits (0, Offtopic)

sdgirl (1065670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061902)

This is one of the most ludicrous cases I've ever heard of, and I've heard of a few (IANAL but I am a law student). There's no way this case is going anywhere. I suppose he feels he must have a chance though and it's probably due to the perception that alcoholism is a 'disease' and that obesity is a 'disability'. Alcoholism is NOT a disease but it can cause them. Obesity is NOT a disability but can be a symptom of one e.g. thyroid glands. By those rationalisms it's not much of a leap to say that having a job on the job isn't a psychological problem. Luckilly, the plaintiff will be pleased to know there's a treatment in the form of Depo-Provera, and no doubt his wife will feel the same way.

Re:Frivolous suits (3, Interesting)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062212)

As a law student you should understand that there are many different definitions of "disease". I'm not currently a law student, I'm an undergrad studying human development and psychology, but plan to go on to law school.

The law may not define alcoholism as a disease, however, Merriam Webster defines the word as follows:
2 : a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms : SICKNESS, MALADY
3 : a harmful development (as in a social institution)

As for 2, alcohol is known to encourage the release of endorphins and dopamine, and I'm sure you know the functions of both. At some point, without alcohol, one cannot keep endorphin and dopamine levels high enough during sobriety to function correctly, ie, with a clear mind and without physical tremors.

As for 3, alcoholism causes many problems, what with decreased economic productivity, many many many problems in the family, and increased burden on the health system, regardless of whether the alcoholic has a job or not: If he does, it increases health insurance premiums, if he does not, it increases stress on government- and institutionally-funded health care programs.

Alcoholism IS a disease, being a drunk is not. There is a point of no return for a drunk, however, and THAT is when it becomes a disease.

If sex addiction... (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061908)

If sex additiction is a valid argument to raise when you're about to get fired, no men would EVER get fired. And then we'd have issues with equality between sex and blah.

Re:If sex addiction... (1)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062446)

Are you suggesting that porn is the only reason men ever get fired?

Looks simple enough (4, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061924)

His lawyer ... says Pacenza never visited pornographic sites at work, violated no written IBM rule ...

International Business Machines Corp. ... (says) ... its policy against surfing sexual Web sites is clear. It also claims Pacenza was told he could lose his job after an incident four months earlier, which Pacenza denies.


Seems pretty obvious. If IBM can produce those written policies, and has kept a written record of the previous warnings, Pacenza doesn't have a leg to stand on.

References to his past history in the military don't really seem all that relevant. Yes, many vets of Viet Name and other action carry the scars with them but that does not give them a right to totally ignore their employer's direction.

Re:Looks simple enough (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062024)

Thanks to this guy, IBM management is probably going to have to make stricter guidelines stating what you can and can't view online while you're at work. I bet that will piss off a ton of employees!

Re:Looks simple enough (2, Funny)

jpetts (208163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062126)

Pacenza doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Then he would be covered by ADA, right?

Re:Looks simple enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062310)

Pacenza doesn't have a leg to stand on.

You can thank Charlie for that.

Addition to not working | un-workaholism (2, Interesting)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18061944)

So lets see here. If I were a heroin addict, and I was fixing on the job, and they fired me for fixing on the job, I could sue them for 5Million? Dang, I should become an addict for the big pay day! Sounds like this guy just has an addiction to not working. Or perhaps he is allergic to work.

Rehab (1)

ryepnt (1064238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062004)

What is the rehab for internet addiction? Is it a twelve step program?

Re:Rehab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062362)

Nope, it's like the smoking cessation program where you can smoke as many cigarettes as you want but can only take a drag or two of each. In this case, he can surf the web as much as he wants, but he has to use dial-up AOL.

Sexual Harassment Suit (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062154)

Another employee saw something offensive on his computer and reported it to a supervisor. That's step #1 toward filing a lawsuit. If it happened again IBM would be sued for sure, with no defense. They have to take action to "protect" the other employees; it's the law.

Key Word is Accomodation (3, Informative)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062194)

Send Buddy over to my department. I am willing to assume the company's Duty to Accommodate - plus it will help mitigate the Undue Hardship I'm experiencing in trying to locate 'The Really Good Shit' porn. I need a professional.

Just when you think I'm being a smart-ass, this isn't as far out there as you might think. I understand the motovation(s) for this sort of governance, but the implementation is getting pretty whacky. From the Canadian Human Rights Commissions website:

1. What is the duty to accommodate?

The duty to accommodate is the obligation to meaningfully incorporate diversity into the workplace. The duty to accommodate involves eliminating or changing rules, policies, practices and behaviours that discriminate against persons based on a group characteristic, such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, marital status, family status and disability. emphasis mine

So my contribution to diversifying sexual orientation is that I wanna monkey spank all day sitting at my desk. Where's the beef? ... [Slaps Head]

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/preventing_discrimination/ page1-en.asp [chrc-ccdp.ca]

Absurd (2, Insightful)

JPMaximilian (948958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062266)

Why would you sue a company (and expect to win) when you were fired for violating a companies (reasonable) policies. The lawyer probably knows his client doesn't have a chance, but it milking this chap for legal fees.

Consistent standard needs to be applied (4, Insightful)

Giro d'Italia (124843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062270)

If indeed IBM simply transferred two other workers who had actual sex on a desk (one assumes this occurred when someone could witness it, rather than in a private office late one night), it's going to be hard for them to justify firing this guy for engaging in otherwise legal activity even though it was using company resources. That's not to say this is age discrimination or some other malfeasance on the part of IBM, but the lack of consistency is troubling.

Re:Consistent standard needs to be applied (2, Insightful)

JPMaximilian (948958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062300)

If indeed IBM simply transferred two other workers who had actual sex on a desk (one assumes this occurred when someone could witness it, rather than in a private office late one night), it's going to be hard for them to justify firing this guy for engaging in otherwise legal activity even though it was using company resources. That's not to say this is age discrimination or some other malfeasance on the part of IBM, but the lack of consistency is troubling.
Even if it was a private office, that sort of conduct on company property is inappropriate. Context is very important in these situations. The fact that looking at porn is "legal" is very dependent on context. Going an taking a shower at my house is legal, doing so without permission at someone else residence is not.

This reminds me of a Grey's Anatomy episode. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062380)

There was a Grey's Anatomy episode [tv.com] about a patient who watched pornography to ease his pain.

Cry me a river... (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18062392)

Why the hell can't people just assume responsibility for their actions?

And before anybody accuses me of being insensitive here, I have a psychological disability myself But I recognize that it's *MY* problem, not other people's, and that it's up to me to make choices at work that do not put me in situations where my disability would reflect anything less than the most professional behaviour of which I am otherwise capable.

he a tit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18062420)

James Pacenza just go FUCK OFF
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?