Vet Sues IBM For $5 Million, Claims Net Addiction

An IBM employee fired in May 2003 for allegedly visiting an adult chat room while at work is suing the company on grounds of the American with Disabilities Act.

James Pacenza, a 58-year-old man from Montgomery, Ala., says he is an Internet addict, and this is a disability resulting from watching his best friend die in the Vietnam War.

After returning from a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, he logged onto a adult chatroom. Another employee reported finding the site after Pacenza left the computer unattended. Michael Diederich, his lawyer, said that Pacenza had never visited pornographic sites while at work; therefore, he broke no company rules.

When I first came upon the CNN article, I immediately thought, Oh no, here’s another Alabamian making our state look like a bunch of idiots. However, Net Addiction states, “Estimates suggest that five to ten percent of the population,” suffer from Internet Addiction. I might even suffer myself.

This case will bring more questions than answers. Should employers monitor the Internet use of its employees? Should “Net Addiction” be considered a disability? If it is a disability, should companies offer treatment?

There’s no definitive answer to those questions or other questions generated by this case.

One could argue that Pacenza got caught breaking the rules, and now he’s trying to find a way out of it. However, we might want to look into this whole Internet addiction thing. There might be something to it. I’m up past 2 a.m. blogging this story. Maybe I should be getting a good night’s rest instead.

2 Responses

  1. Lady G~
    Lady G~ Published |

    Thanks for the comment on my TT list. I’m sure the Lord will bring your lady when it’s time.

    Interesting article. Since he was caught during “working” hours, I believe the employer has a right to fire him. Well, only if it’s been documented that this is a repeat offense. If he was on break, that’s a different story. There is always more to the stories that the media reports.

    As far as internet addiction, ah… nowadays, they slap the “addiction” label on just about anything. Some people are “sue” happy. I have little respect for that. Then again, that’s just my 1 cent worth. :o)

    Oh, as for your cell phone post, wait for the iPhone. My Babe is a computer geek. I say this with pride. :o) Before you know it, the price will go down.

  2. Justin
    Justin Published |

    It’s hard for me to believe people’s “addictions” too. And I do think there are too many people filing lawsuits just because they can.

    When I was a Hotel and Restaraunt major, I took a class called Hospitality Law. You wouldn’t believe some of the lawsuits we looked at. The sad thing is that so many of the ridiculus claims won.

    I do have something of a soft spot in my heart for the Vietnam veterans though. I know they went through hell out there, and some have some real disorders. Claiming Internet addiction because of the war doesn’t seem like one of them.

    I think many of us feel sort of an obligation to make veterans happy. But, I don’t want to see them get away with whatever they want.

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