British Columbia

UBC disciplines 13 staffers for viewing porn

The University of British Columbia has disciplined more than a dozen unionized staff members who were viewing pornography on work computers.

The University of British Columbia has disciplined more than a dozen unionized staff members who were viewing pornography on work computers.

No faculty or management were involved, a university spokesman said.

Scott Macrae, the director of public affairs at the university, said the material being viewed was explicit but he declined to give details or say which department was involved. He said the incidents happened over the last couple of months.

"Management had discovered inappropriate use of the computer network and computers, having to do with the distribution of sexually explicit material," Macrae told CBC News.

"After investigating this, 13 employees were given disciplinary actions and these ranged from letters of discipline all the way up to suspensions without pay for 10 days."

Late last year, the Vancouver School Board suspended more than a dozen workers after they were reportedly caught viewing pornography on board computers.

A sex-addiction therapist in West Vancouver said she is never surprised when she hears about such incidents.

"At least 70 per cent of pornography is downloaded between 9 and 5," Paulette Tomasson told CBC News.

Institutions and companies need to be particularly watchful to prevent such activity, she said. Besides leading to decreased productivity, it could result in legal action: If other people stumble across pornographic pictures on a worker's computer, the worker or the company could be charged with sexual harassment.

With files from the CBC's Robert Zimmerman