Porn Policy: Reducing Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Author: Inderscience Publishers
Published: Tuesday 28th October 2014 - Updated: Friday 23rd January 2015
Summary: Information regarding reducing discrimination and sexual harassment through a strict workplace pornography policy.


Employers must have in place a strict policy regarding pornography in the workplace if they are to avoid legal action from sexual harassment and discrimination charges, according to a study by Craig Cameron of the Griffith University.

Writing in the International Journal of Technology Policy and Law, Cameron identified five primary methods of what he refers to as pornography participation that require specific policies to protect both employer and employee in almost any jurisdiction.

According to Cameron, technology has allowed pornography to infiltrate the workplace, which now means that employment policies and rules must be put in place to ensure employees can enjoy their legal right to a safe workplace free of sexual harassment and discrimination.

He has investigated the problem of workplace pornography from the perspective of Australian employment law but points out that the same technological and social issues are present in almost every country.

His findings could point employers in Australia and elsewhere to the creation of a robust policy on the use of pornography in the workplace.

Cameron's study revealed that there are five types of employee participation with pornography that are common in the workplace.

"Despite its perceived social stigma and legal consequences for the employee, pornography remains a prevalent issue in the workplace," Cameron says. "The accessibility, portability, affordability and anonymity of new technologies will continue to facilitate the infiltration of electronic pornography into the workplace."

He points out that an employer that fails to enforce an appropriate policy banning pornography might be liable to prosecution under discrimination and sexual harassment as such a failure would essentially be a breach of the employer's duty of care to the health, safety and well-being of all of those in the workplace. While pornography can have a specific definition, employers could readily extend their policy to include non-pornographic but sexually related, sexually explicit, offensive or objectionable material.

"Electronic porn in the workplace: a policy examination" in Int. J. Technology Policy and Law, 2012, 1, 120-134


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