A man fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room during work hours has sued Big Blue for $5 million, claiming he's an Internet addict who deserves treatment and understanding rather than a pink slip.
But bloggers are expressing little sympathy for 58-year-old James Pacenza, who says he visits chat rooms to distract himself from the lingering stress of seeing his best friend killed during a 1969 Army patrol in Vietnam. Pacenza, according to the Associated Press, said the trauma caused him to become "a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict." He is claiming protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While the court will ultimately have its own say, many bloggers are ruling that workplace regulations on surfing sexual Web sites are clear and that the suit is symptomatic of an overly litigious society, as well as people's increasing hesitancy to take responsibility for their own actions.
Blog community response:
"Am I the only one to be outraged by this? In what workplace (other than the porn industry where it's probably encouraged) is it OK to partake in sex talk during business hours?"
"This case is only one example of something that has become all too prevalent in American society. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions and admitting that they did something wrong, people blame their problems on someone or something else." --The Liberty Papers
"Now, if he wins, I'm surfin' porn on my company laptop! I've seen dead guys in combat, and hopefully that'll be enough to get me a big payday for wrongful dismissal."
--Crazy Politico's Rantings
"Respect is due to any man or woman who serves our country in times of war. Yet, the articles detailing a lawsuit brought on by a guy who had a 65K a year job over at IBM left me shaking my head."