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Can porn spam be concidered Sexual Harassment to employees?

By sostermann ·
We have a relatively new employee (manager) here who has recieved two or three pornagraphic spam e-mails in her inbox.

She has sent an e-mail to upper management stating

"This is now border line harassing! Some employees would consider this
sexual harassment."

We are doing what we can with our limited resources right now. We don't host our own e-mail servers, therefore rely mostly on the ISP's to filter to most obvious spam. To make matters worse we are using Outlook Express for now and rely heavily on e-mail for customer orders -- therefore we can't risk false positives in filtering spam. It's never been much of a problem before -- just a slight nuisance.

Nobody likes to get spam - I especially dislike pornagraphics spam. My qestion is: can the company be held liable for unsolicited e-mails in an employees inbox?

What do you think?

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So...

by gizzymogremlin In reply to Wrong answer jmgarvin! P ...

I'll have to go with this argument (like in a post before)... If you get a piece of mail from...say...Playboy that gives you a free subscription etc... etc.. we can sue the postal service?? ... yea right!! gimme a break...

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20 years ago, I told people this is where this would be going

by JohnMcGrew In reply to Wrong answer jmgarvin! P ...

Long before most people had ever heard the term ?sexual harassment?, I could tell where this was going. At least back then, most people could at least agree on what it meant in an employment situation: A superior using his/her position of power in order to fulfill their own sense of sexual gratification at the expense of subordinates. The classic example would have been a boss insisting upon sex for an employee to gain advancement or even to keep a job. Few could argue against that.

The problem is that as soon as such cultural issues get codified into law, the politicians, activists, and lawyers all exploit it towards their own selfish ends.

20 years later, look where we have arrived at. So few sexual harassment cases anymore fit under the classical definition. Today, it?s mostly nonsense like we have here, where the emotional cripples get to define what is acceptable for the rest of us, and/or the opportunists seize the slightest nugget as their anchor for the big legal victory payday.

If anything, cases like this only serve as arguments as to why we need a ?loser pays? legal system in this country, where the loser of the case gets to pay the legal fees of the winner. Only then can people be safe from ?legal harassment? and the courts can focus their attention on the real cases of abuse.

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Quite the contrary (unfortunately)

by daveo2000 In reply to 20 years ago, I told peop ...

We have all seen the case where the whistle-blower was fired (or worse) because "the company" had much better attorneys. Or the individual who should have won (in polite opinion) employed a law-abiding lawyer and the opposition scraped the bottom of the lice barrel to find lawyers to simply win at any cost.

If the loser has to pay, then the small guy will never bring suit and the big guy knows it. Basically, that is how it was back in the good old feudal days.

Why don't we bring back the duel? That only required 4 people and the person that was "right" was the one who wasn't dead! The answer is pretty simple here too: The large company would simply have professional duelers on the payroll instead of the lawyers they already have on retainer.

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Nonsense

by JohnMcGrew In reply to Quite the contrary (unfor ...

You can't deny the laws of economics.

If the case is good, the small guy can and will win, and lawyers will still fight for the case because there will be money to be made. In fact, companies that are in the wrong will be far more likely to settle, because the cost of loosing will be that much greater.

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Sadly, I'm not sure which laws you refer to...

by daveo2000 In reply to Nonsense

Which laws of economics do you refer to? "The better product will win over inferior products" or "The better marketing plan will win"?

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the world you live in and I don't like the one I live in. Where I live, superior products regularly get overrun by inferior ones because the superior ones were made by the little guy and the big guy's marketing plan overwhelmed him.

But, could you help me understand this concept of "the case is good"? Does this mean that it is an open-and-shut case and it is 100% clear who is at fault? Does it mean that the public is 100% behind what one side believes and against the other? And, are you talking only of criminal court or would this cover civil court as well where the court has to determined the percentage of guilt to assign to the two sides?

I'm not sure how this would affect cases where a small group of "crackpots" think that something is bad for you and the company "educates" the public otherwise. Please explain how your idea would play out in cases like cigarettes and asbestos. What about agent orange, ozone, PVCs, PCBs, thalidamide and a host of other man-made chemicals that, until somebody files a suit in the face of insurmountable odds, nobody acknowledged were dangerous?

Are you sure that these cases would still be brought to court in your system?

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The laws to which I refer...

by JohnMcGrew In reply to Sadly, I'm not sure which ...

...are those that see to it that when there is a demand, there will be someone to cater to it. If a case has merit and is likely to be won in a rational court system, then there will be a lawyer who will take it.

When I say "the case is good", I mean one that can be won. Simple as that.

And yes, the "crackpot" cases would be brought to court, but only if there is legitimate science behind them. And yes, that would likely mean that most cigarette and asbestos cases would be thrown out.

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John M.--you are sooooooo right

by jacksdaddy1 In reply to 20 years ago, I told peop ...

If one really thinks about this, a lot of people have written much verbiage on the initial subject. Put this in perspective, a whinney over-sensitized drama queen has contrived a situation that is a mere annoyance to ANY computer user, into a scenario where an employer of a small company (it has to be a small company given the minimal network infrastructure)has to contemplate a possibly ruinous legal situtation. It is all the fault of an unconscionably unethical, abusive, and legal thievary, plaintiffs bar. Their "novel" legal theories in time become established case law. Now, even the most frivolous of lawsuits have a serious financial impact on whoever the unlucky target of opportunity happens to be. Case in point, the subject at hand, "sexual harrassment." The trial lawyers and opportunistic plaintiffs have contrived the term way beyond what a reasonable person would define it to be. I am still in amazement how such stupidity passes muster with 12 so called reasonable people called a jury. Yet it happens all of the time

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Redirect the blame?

by nicholson.eric In reply to The answer is yes and no

Can/Shouldn't the charges be directed to the sender/domain of the Porn SPAM?

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Ideally, yes... but

by daveo2000 In reply to Redirect the blame?

In a more perfect world the charges would be leveled against the sender. But what happens when you are the sender because your PC was infected with a mass-mailer's spam program? Are you at fault for not ensuring that you had "adequate" anti-virus and spam filtering software on your home PC?

As has been noted a couple of times already, it is the company's responsibility to make reasonable effort to provide a safe environment for workers.

So now the problem is to define "reasonable effort" and "safe environment". That is where the water gets really deep and really muddy.

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Letter to the Workplace Inbox

by schwana In reply to The answer is yes and no

At last, you, the email Inbox, find yourself the latest idea pad for a workplace lawsuit. Didn?t catch one out of twenty vulgar spams a day? Bingo, you are now known as the Inbox Pervert, the latest punching bag in office politics. (The guy who likes to touch everyone on the back is now off the hook.)

Read more: http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=55

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