November 6th, 2006

Keep Walking

Can we stop paying your mortgage now as well?

The breaking story below about an Aussie that lost his job due to porn on his computer, then getting it back, is just one of a series of predictions I made about the changing nature of the growing size of large contracts and EULAs.

If the contract is too large, it's pretty much unreasonable to believe that someone actually read the contract in it's entirety -- therefore, it is enforceable? The "air of automaticity" they speak of in the article (highlighted for you), refers to the same sort of thing when you fill out your mortgage and closing paperwork: Sign here, sign here, and here, and here, initial here, and here, sign here... does anyone actually read all of the information in the contracts? If they do, do they understand it? By signing, they are stating that they have and they do!

I always thought when I watched older movies, when people signed with an "X" and they wrote "his mark" beside it, presumably because they couldn't read or write, "How could they enforce such a contract? The guy does not know what it says!

So, does this ruling open the door for an escape out of long, "air of automaticity" type contracts, such as the Microsoft EULA? What about your mortgage? ;-)

According to my predictions, the next thing we'll be reading more about contracts is in where "inalienable rights" assured us in the constitution of the United States are waived in a contract, before such condition warranting their use exists. For example, waiving your right to sue in exchange for mediation before you ever even think of suing a company.

Read on... the article follows.

Firm shocked at order to reinstate porn user
November 6, 2006 - 2:23PM

A technology company has expressed disappointment at being ordered to reinstate an employee it sacked for viewing and storing pornography on his work laptop.

In May, NSW Industrial Relations Commissioner John Murphy rejected an appeal by Richard Budlong, 56, for unfair dismissal by NCR Australia, over his breach of the company's code of conduct.

Mr Budlong, who had worked at NCR for 31 years, was sacked for storing 175 pornographic images, some portraying acts of bestiality, in a folder marked "amusements" on his work laptop.

He claimed there was a prevailing culture of tolerance towards such images, which had been circulated to him by a range of senior colleagues, including a director and general manager.

The full bench of the NSW IRC set aside Commissioner Murphy's decision on Friday and ordered NCR to reinstate Mr Budlong, finding his dismissal was harsh, unreasonable and unjust.

In its judgment, the IRC said there was an "air of automaticity" about the annual signing off of employees on NCR's code of conduct, "a degree of mechanical, unthinking routine in employees making a commitment to abide by the code".

The commission also rejected NCR's contention that it had a "zero tolerance policy" to accessing pornography, finding there was "no such policy in existence".

NCR said today it was surprised and disappointed by the decision.

"Mr Budlong's employment with NCR was terminated on 7 June 2005, following the discovery of excessive and explicit pornographic materials on his work computer that were accessed, received, stored and viewed over a number of years," spokesman Graham White said.

"NCR profoundly disagrees with the NSW IRC's conclusion that this amounted to a one-off breach, albeit one that the NSW IRC concedes is a serious breach."

Mr White said NCR would comply with the commission's orders, although it was unsure whether Mr Budlong intended to return to the company.

"NCR will comply with the NSW IRC's decision, as it must, but strongly refutes the comments made by them," he said.

"NCR believes that the NSW IRC's suggestion that employees engage in mechanical, unthinking routine is demeaning to the employees who review and sign their undertakings."

The commission also said it expected NCR would take steps to better position itself in such a situation in the future, including installation of a firewall and better communication of its policies.

"NCR believes that the code and the consequences for breach are clear, comprehensive and fully understood by all employees, and it will continue in its communication and enforcement efforts," Mr White said.

Read more about the dangers of pornography at work, including this article about Smut-blurring software ruins quality net porn" and narcs on you to your boss!

Again, something to take away from the article above: The defendant "claimed there was a prevailing culture of tolerance towards such images, which had been circulated to him by a range of senior colleagues, including a director and general manager." -- Therefore save EVERY e-mail you ever get at work, always! File them away or burn your archive to CD-ROM.

Especially those "chain letters" you get from the religious zealot down the hall, so when you get in trouble for "using company computers for personal work/affairs", you can actually say (in a childish voice) "Well, [insert name here] is doing it!!!" and get away with it! ;-)

Today's song is from my archives -- Horrorist - One Night In New York City it works with the nature of the pornography of this BLOG entry! Perhaps tomorrow, I'll make "One Night in Rio" the song of the day, which is very much like this one... I love music that tells a story!! (Remember: Tomorrow is election day in the United States!)

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    Horrorist - One Night In New York City
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