There is an interesting news story over at Information Week
this morning. It details the story of a former IBM employee who has been fired for spending too much time in chat rooms.
James Pacenza, a veteran of the Vietnam War, was actually fired in 2003 but didn't start the suing procedure until 2004. His demands? A mere $5 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
The basis for the suit is almost as ludicrous as the extortionate compensation demands; Pacenza claims that his use of chat rooms was a form of 'self medication' and that he used it to treat his post traumatic stress disorder suffered as a result of his combat experience in 'Nam. Pacenza claims the dismissal was unfair and had he been addicted to drugs or alcohol and not chat rooms IBM would have sent him to rehabilitation.
The question that arises is how anyone can prove they are addicted to chat rooms: Was he only addicted to certain kind of chat rooms? How much chatting did he need to do to satisfy his cravings? Could he not have just chatted with people in the office? Surely these are simple questions he will struggle to answer in court.
IBM has taken a slightly different approach to the case, they responded: "He logged on a Web site that contained sexual content on an IBM-owned computer during the workday." IBM claim Pacenza spent most of his time sending sexually explicit messages to friends and not, as he claims, letters to fallen comrades lamenting their deaths.
The case continues but gives us your opinions over in the forums