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Phone Sex is Bad for Business

On August 3rd/2005, Reuters reported that a German man had colluded with a phone sex operator to defraud his employer's company out of approximately 16,000 Euro or almost 20,000 US dollars, by making 160 phone calls over a year and a half from work. He apparently split the profits 50/50 with the phone sex operator. The courts convicted the man and gave him a suspended sentence of eight months.

Does your company have a written communications policy, and are your employees aware of its existence?

Most phone systems these days are highly sophisticated and access can be easily controlled and usage monitored. An employee abusing valuable telecommunication resources is an unnecessary problem to have these days. A quick call to your communication provider will reveal a plethora of information that is available to ensure your systems are being used, not abused. In the United States, except California, it is perfectly legal for employers to monitor business-related calls, even if it is unannounced. It is important to note that counsel recommends employees be aware of all communication policies, preferably in writing.

Phone sex aside, we are more apt to hear these days about employees abusing internet privileges. In fact, an entire sub section of the software industry has developed to provide companies with internet monitoring software. Some software will just monitor employee's internet usage and provide management with interesting reports to bring up at the good old annual review. Different software will allow management to filter what websites can be viewed, thus only allowing employees to visit sites that pertain to their industry.

What's the big deal?

37 % of people said they surf the internet constantly at work.
32 % of people said they surfed a few times per day.
37 % of US workers have visited an X-Rated Website from work.

When an employee abuses company communication resources it reduces productivity, stealing valuable time and resources that do affect the bottom line. Ask any stock holder if they would be happy realizing the employees of XYZ Company's phone or internet usage are the result of their reduced dividends this quarter? I doubt you would get a happy response.

The conversation that often comes up when anyone discusses employee monitoring, and specifically phone calls, is privacy rights. It is Federal law in both the United States and Canada that when an employer realizes the call is personal, he or she must immediately stop monitoring the call. This is a very good thing indeed, but one that as well could cause some confusion.

Wouldn't phone sex sound like a personal call?

By Lee Raito, CFP, FMA
Co-Author of Business Sexcess
Business and financial expert Lee Raito is a Certified Financial Planner and Financial Management Advisor. Lee has teamed up with Internet marketing expert Sam Heyer to provide you with information that will take your business success to a place it has never been before. Their recent book, Business Sexcess, is the much talked about book that will transform how you look at business. http://www.BusinessSexcess.com

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