This article looks at employer liability for pornographic spam in the workplace. It begins with an analysis of the risks and unique problems posed by employees’ Internet use while at work. The article makes note of some trouble areas where employers may be held vicariously liable for sexual harassment. It is suggested that employers protect themselves by taking steps to: 1) reduce the prevalence of unsolicited commercial e-mail in the workplace; 2) mute the potential harm of offensive e-mail; and 3) create a paper trail indicating diligence in the fight to protect employees. Employers may reach these goals by the use of filtering technologies, disabling image loading in e-mail client programs, and updating policies on computer and Internet use in the workplace. If these goals are accomplished, then employers should find their prospective liability has been limited and the number of would-be plaintiffs to sue over sexual harassment will have been reduced.
Ben Dahl, A Further Darkside to Unsolicited Commercial E-mail? An Assessment of Potential Employer Liability for Spam E-mail, 22 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 179 (2003)