It’s Cyber Monday, But Don’t Get Fired For Shopping Too Much At Work

So many people do their holiday shopping online that the idea of “Cyber Monday” seems like a relic of an era when online retail was a novelty in search of legitimacy. Still, the name — and the sales — persist, but shopping on the job today could land you in a heap of trouble with the boss.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reminds us all that many companies have policies about non-work uses for the computers and smartphones they provide to employees. And with more than 40% of U.S. workers saying they plan to spend at least one hour of work time going online to do their Christmas shopping, some businesses might be getting a bit peeved that these usage policies are being violated.

The paper points to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, which found that while 13% of employers are willing to look the other way when it comes to holiday shopping during work hours (so long as employees’ work still gets done on time), 32% say they have a no-tolerance policy for online shopping.

Yet another survey claims that more bosses have fired people for online shopping — up from 8% to 12% in a single year. This matches up with other stats showing increased monitoring of employees’ online browsing. More than a quarter of employers in the survey say they have fired a worker for using the Internet for non-work purposes.

You’re probably going to shop online at work regardless — and you’re likely reading this on your work time, possibly in violation of company policy — but just be mindful that your boss may be keeping tabs on those who spend the most amount of time doing something other than the jobs they’re being paid to do.