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Can Employees Watch Porn During Their Lunch Break?

They can, if they work in Italy! Earlier this month the Supreme Court in Rome ruled that an employee in Italy caught watching pornographic material at the workplace during his lunch break was unfairly dismissed.

The eyebrow-raising decision follows a 5-year legal battle after the car manufacturer Fiat dismissed an employee in 2008 for watching a pornographic movie on his personal laptop in an electricity supply room on the factory floor.

According to the Judge, this employee who enjoyed “just a glimpse of the film during a meal break” did not commit an act of gross misconduct as his choice of down time had not interfered with the rest of his shift.

Conclusion

Of course this ruling has no binding effect on the courts of England and Wales, though it serves as a highly important reminder for employers to review their policies.

Most employers don’t mind their employees using the internet for personal use during their allocated breaks but this can cause serious issues if employees abuse the practice to view pornographic or other offensive websites. To avoid situations like this arising companies should have a clear a policy relating to the use of the internet both during work hours and breaks. 

Further, ensure that your disciplinary policy includes viewing inappropriate and pornographic material within the definition of constituting gross misconduct, thus making is clear that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.  

As always, if I can provide you with any assistance with drafting the all-important policies or you have any other employment law queries please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.


Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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