This loophole could make it legal for employees to watch porn at work

One leading employment lawyer says HR professionals should be wary of a potential loophole that certain workers could use.

This loophole could make it legal for employees to watch porn at work
For most people, watching porn at work is almost certainly a sackable offence but one leading employment lawyer says a novel new argument could have HR professionals questioning the status quo.

“In some cases, an employee who has been dismissed for accessing pornography may argue that he suffers from a pornography addiction, and that this addiction is a disability on the grounds of which he cannot be dismissed,” writes Maddie Axelrod, in an online post for Borden Ladner Gervais.

Statistics on the subject vary but Forbes recently reported that around 25 per cent of adults admit to looking at pornography while at work and 70 per cent of all online pornography access occurs between 9am and 5pm. 

While pornography addiction isn’t listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and hasn’t yet proved to be grounds for overturning discipline, Axelrod says there’s a possibility this could soon change.

“Some arbitrators have suggested that with proper expert opinion to support the argument, they could conclude that pornography addiction is a disability.

“Employers should be sure to properly consider the possibility of a pornography addiction before taking any significant disciplinary steps,” she warns.

According to Axelrod, if an employee succeeds in proving that they suffer from a disability, then the Human Rights Code could prevent an employer from disciplining them.

“Employers must handle incidents with proper protocols and measured responses,” she stresses. "Each case will be assessed based on its individual facts and circumstances.”

More like this:

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