I'll never understand the mentality of an employee -- government or otherwise -- who watches porn while on the clock and on company computers. I get that the mind wanders when not otherwise occupied, but rather than surf the web for innocuous time-killers, certain people decide to just head off the deep end and view something that's forbidden in every work environment not actively engaged in the production or distribution of porn.
While I may have skirted policies meant to keep time-wasting to a minimum (some days were filled with only wasted time), I have never opted to go the porn route. I have nothing against porn or those who watch it. I would just rather not give my employers (a) the equivalent of the middle finger re: computer use policies and (b) any insight into my personal sexual preferences. (LET YOUR IMAGINATIONS RUN WILD.) Both of these seem like BAD THINGS to do.
(Also, there's that whole thing about it that insinuates some sort of self-pleasure is involved, and in a work environment, that's just… amazingly gross. Even the employees at the porn shop don't relish cleaning up the spank rooms. Imagine being told after a few weeks at work that your predecessor [and previous cubicle occupant] was fired for watching tons of porn during work hours. You'd want to shower in decontaminant and return in a hazmat suit.)
And yet, we have written multiple stories about employees (most of them in the public sector) who not only watch porn at work, but do so with unimaginable gusto for hours at a time. Here's yet another, involving a Baltimore Department of Public Works employee:
Inspector General Rob Pearre Jr. released a report last week revealing the employee, a maintenance supervisor at the facilities division of the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, was suspended in September 2014 and fired Jan. 20 at the conclusion of an investigation.
The report said officials received an anonymous complaint about the worker in August of last year and monitoring software installed on the man's work computer found he spent 39 of the 82 hours he spent working in a two-week period watching a pornographic DVD on the computer.
Nothing handles the ridiculousness of a porn-related firing more aptly than an official report so dry it could apply for disaster relief funds.
"HOW MUCH PORN DID HE WATCH?" the studio audience in my mind demands. Here's a per-shift breakdown, listed in this report
as "Table 1."
It appears the employee's workload tended to diminish over the course of week, with Mondays and Tuesdays (with one exception -- a seven-of-eight work hours marathon) being relatively light and the ration of porn-to-work increasing as the week wore on. Fridays were half-days and, accordingly, roughly half of that time was given over to porn-watching.
Now, the employee obviously felt accessing porn via the internet might result in a swift dismissal. His workaround -- bringing a DVD from home -- allowed him to bypass web filters. However, the length of time it was watched, combined with how
it was watched, gives the impression that no one really checked on this employee's productivity, much less ever stopped by his desk.
The City-owned computer operated by the MSI was connected to a single monitor. OIG personnel noted that when pornographic material was visible, the video was maximized to cover the entire screen.
Full-screen porn during work hours is a strong indicator that the employee was neither valued nor popular. Viewing porn in full screen can only be done by those confident their porn sessions will not be interrupted.
The Inspector's report then goes on to state the (inadvertently hilarious) obvious.
OIG personnel noted that minimal computer activity was performed while pornographic material was visible. Based on these findings, the OIG believes that little to no work was being performed during the time that pornographic material was visible on the screen of the MSI’s City-owned computer.
Doh! If only this employee would have reduced it to the upper-corner of the monitor and run a few work-related applications in the background. He might have been able to hold onto this job until retirement -- at which point his porn-watching could have resumed uninterrupted, barring the occasional trip to the bank to deposit his pension check. (Or not, what with direct deposit…) But he didn't. Instead, he did this.
OIG personnel noted that the MSI would occasionally maximize his email inbox in the Microsoft Outlook program and then minimize it moments later leaving only the pornographic material visible on the screen.
Fortunately for Baltimore taxpayers, there's no pension in the future nor the continued annual funding of Dept. of Public Works porn-watching. $30,000/year for twiddling your
self is damn good money, but there aren't many entities willing to fork that out. (Barring, of course, those involved in the production/distribution of porn…)
At an hourly rate of $29.90, the MSI was paid $1,166 for 39 hours for which no work was performed. By annualizing the data gathered during the two-week monitoring based on a 2000 hour work-year, pornographic material would be visible on the screen of the MSI’s City-owned computer for 951 hours which would cost the City approximately $28,400.
Also noted in the report: the employee appealed his pending termination briefly before being persuaded to take a 10-day payout in exchange for dropping the appeal he had very little chance of winning.
The report wraps up with the DPW and OIG giving each other big, warm hugs for being so competent/cooperative (respectively). And for the moment, all is slightly more right in Baltimore's Dept. of Public Works.