Man sues IBM over firing, says he's an Internet addict

A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/02/18/ch...

Probably a somewhat touchy subject, since I know that a few Goodjers in the past have had issues with internet-use and their jobs. Still, strikes me as overwhelmingly silly. Plus, man, who really wants to take on IBM lawyers?

This isn't Sparta.

I don't know, you read the article and (assuming this guy isn't full of it) he has a case, of sorts.

Yay America. Only here can a guy slack off at work, get fired for it, and then sue the employer.

In papers filed in federal court in White Plains, Pacenza said the stress caused him to become "a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict." He claimed protection under the American with Disabilities Act.

So, he did not suffer from one, but two not generally recognized disorders?

If they were to argue that firing someone over the named offense was out of proportion, I'd be willing to consider that argument. Throwing up this psychological smokescreen does not help the case in my perception.

He'd have a much better case if he were to say he suffered from depression, and used the chat rooms to escape from his reality. It'd play up the ADA bit a lot better than associating himself with sex addicts.

Assuming everything he says is true, people do still need to take responsibility for their actions. If this were a meth-head tweaking at work, we'd see no such such controversy: He'd be fired. If the company decided to be lenient and get him help, that's sure nice of them, but in no way required. That this is a newish "disorder" shouldn't give it any special status.

But isn't doing meth illegal while net addiction isn't?

Alright, make it that he was having sex at work. It's legal, not online, and ostensibly due to his "sex addiction." But firing him for it would get them no heat. That this "sex" took place over the internet somehow changes the situation?

*shrug*

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.

You got to wonder how many times he's used that one to explain whatever it was he wanted to do at the time.

Employer: "Pacenza, I need someone to work overtime to night. We're behind on production."

Pacenza: "You bastard. You know I can't work late. Ever since I saw my buddy get killed in Vietnam, I can't work more than eight hours, including a full one-hour lunch period and two 15 minute breaks."

Laaaame.

F*cking off at work by any other name is still f*cking off at work. They should award IBM attorney's fees.

Ehh, while he was wrong it does seem a bit harsh, and the cynic in my is willing to bet they fired him rather than some other punishment because of his age. They know the savings from not having to pay his pension (or part, I am sure he has some) is huge.

IBM didn't fire two employees for having sex on their desk at work so obviously they don't have a problem with sex related activities at work.

This is the same as senators that come on to paiges and then go into rehab. Apparently it's a do-over if you can wrap it all around a "medical condition". Great scam tho. I want a DSM 10 for my birthday.

The best he could do is if he could prove age discrimination - that he would not have otherwise been fired if not for his pending pension. That IS a problem, but I find it unlikely he will have a case, nor do I think he should, considering the fact that he was cyber sexing at work.

Having been part of the firing companies info squad, I can safely say that a lot of folks are dismissed after visiting sites similar to this one. The liability to the company in the form of sexual harassment far outweighs the risk of said knucklehead coming after them. Besides, most companies have you sign a form stating that this is a fire-able offense and that you acknowledge this.

Hell, I even agree with Swampy. The court should make him pony up for the attorney and court fees.

Laaaame.

F*cking off at work by any other name is still f*cking off at work. They should award IBM attorney's fees.

QFT

I'm not buying the age discrimination considering this is IBM. The company is full of old timers. Most of the people I know have been with the company for decades. If they were trying to get rid of older employees they'd cut half their workforce.

farley3k and the article wrote:

IBM didn't fire two employees for having sex on their desk at work so obviously they don't have a problem with sex related activities at work.

Anyone beside farley catch this? They didn't fire 2 people for actually having sex on a desk, but this guy gets the book thrown at him for looking at an adult site (admittedly more than once)? The "One year till retirement" line also caught my eye....

I'm asking though....is the actual act somehow less offensive than talking about it online?

pol wrote:

I'm asking though....is the actual act somehow less offensive than talking about it online?

It's tough to say since this kind of thing often depends on how important the employee is to the company and how often he's been warned about it. It also depends on who your supervisor is. If it's this guy, you don't have to worry about having sex in the office.
IMAGE(http://media.urbandictionary.com/image/large/quagmire-3865.jpg)

pol wrote:

Anyone beside farley catch this? They didn't fire 2 people for actually having sex on a desk, but this guy gets the book thrown at him for looking at an adult site (admittedly more than once)?

Was the sex during working hours? Were they warned about it (officially, I mean, not common-sense-don't-screw-or-look-at-porn-ally)? I can see where the humpers might get off, but not this guy.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

I can see where the humpers might get off, but not this guy.

:hump:

Too easy.

I'm inclined to be sympathetic (be a recent gamer without a job), but if he was part of a hugh jass corporation like IBM, he doubtless had several resources for treatment.

And if that meth-smokin' preacher can become not-gay in 3 weeks, well.

I work for that hugh jass corporation, and there's a difference between a recognized disability and an addition. I'm addicted to Diet Coke, but no one's giving me free cans of it at the office, nor should they.

Thin_J wrote:

Yay America. Only here can a guy slack off at work, get fired for it, and then sue the employer.

Quiet you! You'll give away my plan!

Kurrelgyre wrote:

I work for that hugh jass corporation, and there's a difference between a recognized disability and an addition. I'm addicted to Diet Coke, but no one's giving me free cans of it at the office, nor should they.

I meant more along the lines of an Employee Assistance Program, as well as medical benefits that'd cover most of the cost of prescription drugs used in treatment.

I'm now curious about what IBM's corporate culture is like.

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

I meant more along the lines of an Employee Assistance Program, as well as medical benefits that'd cover most of the cost of prescription drugs used in treatment.

Like what? Roofees and Viagra?

70% of all addicts in the United States are in the workforce (saw that on a promo for an HBO special)... Why should this this guy get a pass? Hell, I play video games so it's already been confimed that I'm a lazy addict; and if I can't get my mind right at work, then he shouldn't be able to look at boobies on the clock; show some restraint and self control, save it for when you get home and are on your own machine and network...I may be wrong, but I think they call that "being an adult"...

Yeah, I'm addicted to masturbation and i kn

OK, I'm back. Where were we?

4 minutes? You're a machine!