Fired IBM worker sues for net addiction

Written by Brett Thomas

February 20, 2007 | 15:12

Tags: #addiction #internet

Companies: #ibm

Today's "News from the Weird" article:

A former employee of IBM has sued the company for $5 million over what he deems a "wrongful dismissal." According to the reports, he used office time and computers to log into an adult chatroom whilst on the job. Though he claims he was called away before engaging in any direct chatting, another employee reported his actvities. He was fired the next day.

The employee, James Pacenza, is claiming that he is an internet addict who deserves treatment rather than a pink slip. According to his lawyer, Mr. Pacenza has been self-treating a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by his online activities. He apparently obtained PTSD from watching one of his close friends get killed in Vietnam.

Pacenza is arguing that the PTSD turned him into a sex/internet addict, and that he should be afforded treatment just like an alcoholic or drug addict. He may not be all wet, either - a recent Stanford study found 14% of people acknowledging that they have neglected some crucial aspect of their lives in order to surf the internet. Most companies, including IBM, offer treatment programs for their employees that are struggling to overcome addictions.

IBM has already asked a judge to dismiss the case, stating that its policy against surfing sexual internet sites whilst at work is very explicit. If the judge chooses to let the case proceed to trial, it could have very large implications for non-work related web surfing and how companies treat it.

Do you have a thought on the dismissal or subsequent lawsuit? How about on internet addiction in general? Let us know about it in our forums.
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