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'Sex Addict' Sues for Wrongful Termination

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6682827.stm

This man was fired from his job for going on porn sites while at work. He claims that he should not have been fired from his job, but treated with more sympathy for his illness.

What does everyone think?
post #2 of 23
well, hmm sex addiction is real from what i have been reading.
i would think there would be type of tests he could be given to see if that is true.
post #3 of 23
I don't think he should have been fired.

I think they should have given him a warning and forced him to enroll in a sex addiction program as a condition of keeping his job.

Also, IBM should have a filter on their computers that prevent their employees from even being able to reach sites that contain nudity. Companies filter out certain domains all of the time and the fact that IBM, a large computer corporation doesn't, surpises me.

While sex addiction is technically not a "disease", like alcoholism is, it's very real and the causes can be from psychological (such as in this guys case apparently), to medical. Testosterone is the driving force behind our sexual desire (yes, even in woman), and an overload of Testosterone can cause a major increase in our libido. Which is why some antidepressants tend to curb sexual desire because they help alter our chemical balance, which ultimately causes a drop in our Testosterone levels, and it's why they use female hormones as a chemical castration for male sex offenders because it also causes a drop in the Testosterone level thus killing off their sexual desire.

Anyway, biology lesson aside, I do feel that IBM erred and while I don't think the guy is entitled to 5 million dollars, IBM should give him his job back on the condition that he seeks treatment for his addiction.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I don't think he should have been fired.

I think they should have given him a warning and forced him to enroll in a sex addiction program as a condition of keeping his job.

Also, IBM should have a filter on their computers that prevent their employees from even being able to reach sites that contain nudity. Companies filter out certain domains all of the time and the fact that IBM, a large computer corporation doesn't, surpises me.

While sex addiction is technically not a "disease", like alcoholism is, it's very real and the causes can be from psychological (such as in this guys case apparently), to medical. Testosterone is the driving force behind our sexual desire (yes, even in woman), and an overload of Testosterone can cause a major increase in our libido. Which is why some antidepressants tend to curb sexual desire because they help alter our chemical balance, which ultimately causes a drop in our Testosterone levels, and it's why they use female hormones as a chemical castration for male sex offenders because it also causes a drop in the Testosterone level thus killing off their sexual desire.

Anyway, biology lesson aside, I do feel that IBM erred and while I don't think the guy is entitled to 5 million dollars, IBM should give him his job back on the condition that he seeks treatment for his addiction.

Nothing more to add. Great post. I entirely agree with everything you said.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I don't think he should have been fired.

I think they should have given him a warning and forced him to enroll in a sex addiction program as a condition of keeping his job.

Also, IBM should have a filter on their computers that prevent their employees from even being able to reach sites that contain nudity. Companies filter out certain domains all of the time and the fact that IBM, a large computer corporation doesn't, surpises me.

While sex addiction is technically not a "disease", like alcoholism is, it's very real and the causes can be from psychological (such as in this guys case apparently), to medical. Testosterone is the driving force behind our sexual desire (yes, even in woman), and an overload of Testosterone can cause a major increase in our libido. Which is why some antidepressants tend to curb sexual desire because they help alter our chemical balance, which ultimately causes a drop in our Testosterone levels, and it's why they use female hormones as a chemical castration for male sex offenders because it also causes a drop in the Testosterone level thus killing off their sexual desire.

Anyway, biology lesson aside, I do feel that IBM erred and while I don't think the guy is entitled to 5 million dollars, IBM should give him his job back on the condition that he seeks treatment for his addiction.
Totally in agreement- they should have put filters in place and had him go for psychological testing through their Occupational Health department. Firm I work for sacked someone for a similar offense, problem being that clients were aware it was going on hence causing offense to others
post #6 of 23
Maybe I'm just a hard a$$, but why should he get a pass for doing something that (I assume) is clearly spelled out in company policy? I don't think that a drug addict gets a pass to do drugs at work, affecting their productivity and the productivity of those around them, just because they are addicted. It's HIS addiction, not the company's, HE should seek the treatment since he must have known about the addiction when he was employed. And if he knew about the addiction, he was also obligated to inform his employer of it as it would preclude him from carrying out certain tasks of his job (and then the employer could have worked with him to create an environment fitting his "condition" by either blocking such sites or providing his a private outlet where he could get his "fix" for a few minutes while continuing treatment).

If you want to call it a "disease" then you need to treat it as such. No one would find it acceptable if a cancer patient didn't inform their employer of their disease, and that treatment would require additional time off. And if they didn't tell their employer and were fired for excessive absenteeism, whose fault would that be? IMO it would be the employee for not working with their employer ahead of time.
post #7 of 23
I agree with valanhb.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Maybe I'm just a hard a$$, but why should he get a pass for doing something that (I assume) is clearly spelled out in company policy? I don't think that a drug addict gets a pass to do drugs at work, affecting their productivity and the productivity of those around them, just because they are addicted. It's HIS addiction, not the company's, HE should seek the treatment since he must have known about the addiction when he was employed. And if he knew about the addiction, he was also obligated to inform his employer of it as it would preclude him from carrying out certain tasks of his job (and then the employer could have worked with him to create an environment fitting his "condition" by either blocking such sites or providing his a private outlet where he could get his "fix" for a few minutes while continuing treatment).

If you want to call it a "disease" then you need to treat it as such. No one would find it acceptable if a cancer patient didn't inform their employer of their disease, and that treatment would require additional time off. And if they didn't tell their employer and were fired for excessive absenteeism, whose fault would that be? IMO it would be the employee for not working with their employer ahead of time.

Yup I agree....also if he's looking up porn AT WORK, who's to say he doesn't have a sick fetish and is like a sex offender or something.... ??? If they give him his job back it would be telling him "its ok"
post #9 of 23
If he were an alcoholic and was drinking at work, he'd be fired. If he smokes, and decides to smoke in his cubicle, often enough and refusing to follow laws, he could be fired. If he were proven to be an illegal drug addict even only in his off time he'd be fired.

Why should he get 5 million for looking at porn and getting fired. If anything that's more harmful to the people around him than drinking at work would be.

I don't agree that he should have told his employer about a psych problem. It is a disease like any other, but since when did we have to disclose our medical histories to our employer? That and people don't treat mental illness the same way they do cancer. People never react to cancer by thinking it must be your own fault, or that you are making it up, or just being a wuss.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
I don't agree that he should have told his employer about a psych problem. It is a disease like any other, but since when did we have to disclose our medical histories to our employer? That and people don't treat mental illness the same way they do cancer. People never react to cancer by thinking it must be your own fault, or that you are making it up, or just being a wuss.
You do need to disclose to your employer if you have a condition that inhibits you from doing any of your job duties. If this guy knew that he could not have access to a computer with internet access without going to porn sites due to his addiction, he should have made that known to someone. Maybe just someone in IT who could set up his computer with restrictions. (Hey, I've told my supervisor about my depression and what that means - that I get irritable when I'm having a bout of depression - because that affects how I do my job.) That doesn't mean he had to advertise it, but I just feel you should disclose information that is pertinent to your job to your employer in some capacity. (In my case, I haven't told all of the owners, but the person who I work most closely with knows.)

Maybe using cancer was a bad example. But would you hire an alcoholic to work in a bar with free access to the liquor? That would be preposterous, and it certainly wouldn't be the employer's fault if said alcoholic drank the booze and was subsequently fired.
post #11 of 23
Just a note: The article does state that he was warned previously.

Quote:
The stated reason was that he visited an internet chat site for a sexual experience after he had previously been warned.
Also, if, when he was warned, he did not state his condition, they have no reason to suspect that it was due to anything but pure pleasure.

Too many ifs, but IF he was warned and did not disclose the nature of his meanderings, he should have been fired.
post #12 of 23
I have told all of my employers that I have bipolar disorder. They have a right to know whether or not I have a condition - any condition - that might affect productivity. Handily, I've always worked for doctors, so I am always met with a supportive environment. But still, I'd volunteer the information no matter where I worked.

Still, I've been thinking about this and I do agree with many of the others here. No other form of addiction would be tolerated at work - although I think the point is, any other form of addiction would probably not be a `firable' option, though - because of all the lawsuits that would cause for discimination. It's a circular argument, in a lot of ways.
post #13 of 23
I love how people love to make unacceptable behavior a disease to remove any personal responsibility for it. What a joke.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Maybe I'm just a hard a$$, but why should he get a pass for doing something that (I assume) is clearly spelled out in company policy? I don't think that a drug addict gets a pass to do drugs at work, affecting their productivity and the productivity of those around them, just because they are addicted. It's HIS addiction, not the company's, HE should seek the treatment since he must have known about the addiction when he was employed. And if he knew about the addiction, he was also obligated to inform his employer of it as it would preclude him from carrying out certain tasks of his job (and then the employer could have worked with him to create an environment fitting his "condition" by either blocking such sites or providing his a private outlet where he could get his "fix" for a few minutes while continuing treatment).

If you want to call it a "disease" then you need to treat it as such. No one would find it acceptable if a cancer patient didn't inform their employer of their disease, and that treatment would require additional time off. And if they didn't tell their employer and were fired for excessive absenteeism, whose fault would that be? IMO it would be the employee for not working with their employer ahead of time.
I also agree. I don't know of any companies that would allow drug or alcohol use to addicts at their work. Heck, today you can't even smoke a cigarette.

If this fellow has an addiction (and I say IF), then he shouldn't have access to computers (putting temptation in his way), just as an alcoholic probably wouldn't be in charge of a bar in a tavern. I really do get tired of "woe is me" folks that are looking for a free ride and an out of situations they cause themselves and are trying to blame on everyone but themselves. It really irks me.
post #15 of 23
Very well put Heidi. I completely agree with you!
post #16 of 23
I read the article rather quickly so I may have missed a reference to company policy around the use of the Internet, but no company of any size these days fails to state such a policy -- some even require that all employees sign it annually -- that's the case in my hubby's office. Mine is less "legalistic", and does not require a signature, but it's in the staff handbook. And whatever words they use, the general gist, at the very least, will be "don't let it get in the way of your work, don't do anything illegal, and don't embarrass the employer". If he's been warned, then in some way he has violated the policy, and if he then continued to do so, I really don't care what his "excuse" is, the company is well within its rights to boot his butt out the door.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
From what I've heard the general policy is in the UK:

a. An employee comes to the boss with an addiction than all efforts will be made to help them.

b. If the employee is secretive about their addiction, and it affects their job performance, then they will be fired.

I don't know enough about sex addiction (I mean the term can be followed by snickering by some) to be able to judge. I do think that addiction is an illness and the person should be helped, but if a person is not open about it, then they are not ready to get batter. The employer cannot wait around for this, but neither should they be able to fire an employee who comes for help.

I don't know, I guess that's why I started this thread, to be able to figure out my feelings about it.
post #18 of 23
I will admit, I did not read the article, just the post in the thread. From what I gather the guy says he has a problem, a sex addiction. Okay, not a big deal BUT looking at porn at work is inexusable. What if someone walked into his office/slash cubicle and was offended? It could have opened up the door for a sexual harrasment suite. To the company it is easier to fire the guy than deal with a lawsuit like that. If he really felt like he need to look at porn then he needed to talk to someone. Most companies now have help lines set up just for employees to call for help. They are completly safe and understanding. Most of the time, unless physical harm is an issue, your call remains private. It sounds to me like he just wants a free ride and this was a great way to get it.
For me, when I was put on to a higher dose of birth control the first thing I did was go to my boss and tell her. I told her that in the event that the added hormomes made me snap at people to please come and talk to me before just writing me up. I explained that I may not be able to control nyself. She understood and asked what pill I was put on and the dose amount. She also asked what the amount of my old pill was. When she found out it was almost double the amount shae laughed and said she was surprise I had not stabbed any of the customers with my box cutter yet. It was her way of saying don't worry, if something happens it won't be your fault.

He should have said something before hand.
post #19 of 23
A little background, I work with sex offenders, have been for over a year. There is such a thing as a sex addiction and there are many forms of it. Addictions are all the same whether it's a drug, an object, whatever. Sex addictions aren't that uncommon especially with pornography and the ease of using the internet. Also.....it's not a lot to do with the physical aspect, as in testostorone, if it were it would be much easier to treat. Give them some pill to supress the test. level and everything is hunky dory. It's a very mental problem and takes a VERY long time for an addict to control. Really the only help would be to get GOOD counseling and put a lot of effort into treatment.


I honestly do think he should have been fired. You should know automatically that looking at porn at work is unacceptable. I know that if I look at porn at work I'm fired...simple as that. I wouldn't even expect a warning.

About his problem or addiction, he obviously knew he had it so he should have gotten help. It's his own responsiblity to get help, he's plenty old enough to know that. And even if he didn't want to get proffessional help he should have known using the computer/internet was a bit dangerous with an addicition like his.

I'm not against pornography, but I am against looking at it at work. That's private and should be kept at home. Work is not paying for him to get aroused.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Also, IBM should have a filter on their computers that prevent their employees from even being able to reach sites that contain nudity. Companies filter out certain domains all of the time and the fact that IBM, a large computer corporation doesn't, surpises me.
IBM probably does have some sort of filter, but they may have certain terms that they can't block in order for company productivity.
For example where I work we need to quarantine emails like ""* since that is something that you can do with a machine that delivers our laser systems.
They may need to keep terms that used in the shop industry in order to place parts orders, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Maybe I'm just a hard a$$, but why should he get a pass for doing something that (I assume) is clearly spelled out in company policy? I don't think that a drug addict gets a pass to do drugs at work, affecting their productivity and the productivity of those around them, just because they are addicted. It's HIS addiction, not the company's, HE should seek the treatment since he must have known about the addiction when he was employed. And if he knew about the addiction, he was also obligated to inform his employer of it as it would preclude him from carrying out certain tasks of his job (and then the employer could have worked with him to create an environment fitting his "condition" by either blocking such sites or providing his a private outlet where he could get his "fix" for a few minutes while continuing treatment).

If you want to call it a "disease" then you need to treat it as such. No one would find it acceptable if a cancer patient didn't inform their employer of their disease, and that treatment would require additional time off. And if they didn't tell their employer and were fired for excessive absenteeism, whose fault would that be? IMO it would be the employee for not working with their employer ahead of time.
100% in agreement.

The majority of large corporations make you SIGN a bunch of policies, indicating that you have read and understood the policy. This includes the employee manual, computer use policy, code of ethics, sexual harassment policy, etc.
We currently have a computer use policy where I work that basically says if you violate any of these items your actions will incur a form of punishment up to termination of employment.

PLUS if he was surfing where other employees could see his computer screen that is a lawsuit of sexual harassment waiting to happen. No bones about it. We have one guy where I work that I could/should happily sue for sexual harassment because of the amount of porn on his computer and at his desk. Unfortunately he's a son and I can't afford a lawyer. So I'm just riding my time until I can leave.

*sorry for the offensive work above.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Maybe I'm just a hard a$$, but why should he get a pass for doing something that (I assume) is clearly spelled out in company policy? I don't think that a drug addict gets a pass to do drugs at work, affecting their productivity and the productivity of those around them, just because they are addicted. It's HIS addiction, not the company's, HE should seek the treatment since he must have known about the addiction when he was employed. And if he knew about the addiction, he was also obligated to inform his employer of it as it would preclude him from carrying out certain tasks of his job (and then the employer could have worked with him to create an environment fitting his "condition" by either blocking such sites or providing his a private outlet where he could get his "fix" for a few minutes while continuing treatment).

If you want to call it a "disease" then you need to treat it as such. No one would find it acceptable if a cancer patient didn't inform their employer of their disease, and that treatment would require additional time off. And if they didn't tell their employer and were fired for excessive absenteeism, whose fault would that be? IMO it would be the employee for not working with their employer ahead of time.
I agree! And he should have spoken up when he got the first warning, if not before.
post #22 of 23
He should not have been fired.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffysimba View Post
He should not have been fired.
Well, why? He did something very inappropriate at work, something which anyone without an "addiction" (in quotes because I personally don't believe sex is an addiction the way heroin is an addiction) would have been fired on-spot for and not had a leg to stand on in a lawsuit.
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