Child Porn Found In the Workplace: Affirmative Duty to Report


Misbehaving by sending inappropriate text messages, or by striking up inappropriate internet relationships is not limited just to politicians. A hazard of our ever-present connection to the internet is the flood of information to our computers, not all of which we’ve invited or requested. Malware, mis-directed internet searches, and unauthorized users of computer equipment can put all computer users in the position of receiving, even unintentionally, offensive, obscene, even illegal material. Then there are always those who reach out purposefully to view such materials with intent.

Employers, and IT companies who support business computer systems, are likely to find this sort of information in their possession or custody in the course of working on their own systems, or, if the company is in the IT industry, while working on customers’ computers. Businesses and IT companies may also find this material in a specific search of an employee’s computer based upon a report of misconduct.

Two major questions facing business are (1) when can you legally search an employee’s computer? and (2) what do you do when you find child porn on the employee’s computer?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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