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FBI Battling 'Sexting' on Company Phones, Other Misconduct

By William Peacock, Esq. on February 25, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Who polices the police? They do, and we all benefit from the lessons learned.

The FBI, like many private employers, hands out company Blackberries (Yep. Somebody still uses Blackberries). Company phones handed out to highly-stressed employees predictably leads to acting out. One of the most common means of making a menace to your employer: sexting.

FBI agents are taking self-portraits and sending dirty texts to each other. Is anyone actually surprised?

What's an employer to do when the employees' erotic lives entangle with employers' electronics?

According to CNN, the FBI has resorted to suspensions and warnings, depending on the level of conduct. One employee who continued to date (and eventually marry) a drug dealer was terminated. Another tapped the boss' office and snuck out the supervisor's written comments about the employee. That employee was also terminated.

Other less severe punishments were doled out to an employee that looked up pornography on a company computer and another who sent nude photos of herself to multiple people in the office, which "adversely affected the daily activities of several squads."

For you, and your company, the first step is obviously to issue technology and internet usage agreements and policies. Employees should be put on notice as to what is acceptable conduct on a company's phone and other tech devices. They should also be aware that their activities on the devices are monitored.

Clear policies about proper conduct and disciplinary policies and procedures allow you to quickly address these issues without complaints of arbitrary action or selective enforcement.

On that same note, misconduct should be met with swift and decisive action. Granting exceptions for some employees can come back to haunt you in the event of employment litigation, even if that employee's dirty text messages are relatively minor and he or she is otherwise an excellent employee.

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