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Pornography found on PC

By cjdallas ·
My concern is what do you do when you find pornography on a former employee?s computer?

This person was going to be terminated anyway, and I was aware of the termination, so the night before the term, I backed up his entire mailbox in case he decided to delete everything. I also checked the cookies in the Windows\Cookies folder, but could not copy them or the history folder (don?t know why they wouldn?t copy). The employee had regularly visited porn sites, had downloaded some pics, and evencorresponded with someone on a regular basis who sent pics that ranged from bikini-clad to sexual acts and other stuff (I?ll leave it at that).

Does the company have any recourse? This person was terminated for performance reasons, but if these items had been discovered before his termination, they could have been grounds for dismissal.

His e-mail account has received additional correspondence since he left. One suggestion was that we forward his personal e-mail to his home e-mail addressto ask him to contact his ?friends? with his home e-mail. This action would also let him know that we know.

We have also considered having the company lawyer send a letter, and would like to research that possibility as well.

Any thoughts or suggestions you have are most appreciated.

Obviously, I must remain anonymous for this discussion.

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the question is "WHY???"

by shawsj In reply to Pornography found on PC

Since he has already terminated, what is the purpose of any recourse? Seems like since the recourse would have been termination anyway, it's a wash. Sending his e-mail to his home address does not sound like a professional thing to do. For one, I would speak to the company lawyer and determine if it is wise (or legal) to keep his email account active and intercept and read incoming emails. (He cannot control someone else sending him email). I don't think he would or could be held accountable for someone else sending him email even if he solicited it. After all, he doesn't work there anymore. It seems rather childish to focus on him anymore. He is GONE. ce la vie... I don't mean to sound so hard on you, but it's nitpicking and the world needs a whole lot less of that. The energy could be put to a lot better use. Sorry, just my humble opinion.

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a little clarification

by cjdallas In reply to Pornography found on PC

I guess I should have picked a different word instead of "recourse." This employee is the type who would look for a way to sue the company for any one of a number of reasons. I just want to be ready to battle back if necessary with the porn as a reason if his performance hadn't been the issue.

As for his e-mail account still being active: the person who took his place has access to the account, since he dealt with clients. We don't want to miss any possible new business or client correspondence during the transition time.

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Document then move on.

by clearsmashdrop In reply to a little clarification

I agree with a previous post. This person is gone, I dont see anything to be gained.

If you are afraid of a future lawsuit, document what you found in his/her mailbox and on the pc. Give that info to HR.

Does, your company have a written policy against browsing porn sites? If not, then you may not have any standing.

As for email from the outside, block that address, or simply respond to it, indicating the employee is no longer with the company.

It no longer surprises me when I find stuff like this on peoples computers. Luckily it never became a key issue, most of them had already left the company.

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You're worried about him sueing....

by admin In reply to a little clarification

So you're going to confront him by sending his mail home? If he's on the edge, this would make it much MORE likely that he would sue, not less.

As for the evidence, unfortunately, it is probably worthless at this point since this sort of folder copied from a folder thing is usually not allowed as proper evidence.

You should be glad he's gone without a lawsuit at this point and let it go for sure. Why should your company spend more time and energy on this guy, even if they did win it wouldcost the company.

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Keep it quiet but save the data

by generalist In reply to Pornography found on PC

I would leave the former employee out of the loop if possible. There is no sense in harassing them about other issues. You could get sued if said employee thought you were harassing them.

On the other hand, do what you can to preserve the incriminating data just in case the person sues. You might want to check with a lawyer who knows something about computer evidence. There have been too many cases where the evidence is not properly gathered or preserved.

Then keep track of new evidence as it comes in, just in case. At least for as long as you need to keep the account open.

But don't use it to send anything out. That could lead to another set of legal hassles in terms of identity theft.

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Agree with above.... plus a suggestion

by TimMitchell In reply to Pornography found on PC

Great suggestions above. There's no need in harassing this guy with this evidence, and if he's as uncuth as you describe, such harassment might provoke him to sue. I would back up the information (save the binaries AND a hard-copy) and store it away for future use. Don't make it general knowledge about what you have stored... with news like this, the fewer people that know, the better. However, do make sure that someone from your legal dept. is in the loop; if it's a small company without legal, go to a discreet member of the senior management staff.

To prevent this kind of thing in the future, take that user's old workstation, download RedHat 7.1, and make yourself a simple but powerful proxy server.

Good luck!

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