This Behavior Basically Guarantees Bad Ethics on the Job

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No matter what your feelings about your workplace, for most of us, there are some lines you cannot cross at work. It's never acceptable to use slurs or to harass your colleagues. A workplace requires a standard of safety for all its employees; break one particular taboo, however, and it likely points to much deeper problems.


A Supreme Court justice in the 1960s famously defined pornography as "I know it when I see it." Seeking out pornographic materials at the office, according to one new study from Brigham Young University, may correlate to an increase in unethical behavior, including fraud. It sounds absurd, especially if you're a woman, but other research shows the practice is more common than you'd think.

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One 2016 study found that more than 1 in 5 men admitted to accessing porn at work, though only 5 percent of them did so on a work computer; the rest did so on personal devices. A 2013 study found that 70 percent of all online porn access takes place during normal business hours. The federal government banned viewing pornography on the job in 2011, but it's still slipping through the cracks.


The BYU researchers assert that pornography inherently degrades both viewers and participants, and that it will influence viewers to treat their coworkers poorly. That's a debate for another venue, but most Americans agree on one thing: While water cooler conversations have opened up on certain issues, professionalism requires firm boundaries at the workplace.