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UK employers are more likely to discipline staff for abusing email than for inappropriate Internet use.

A survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reveals that nearly half of all respondents have disciplined staff for excessive use of email and a quarter have disciplined staff for inappropriate email attachments. But overall, bosses seem more relaxed about staff using technology and more likely to have a quiet word rather than take formal disciplinary action.

Only 15 per cent of employers have taken action against staff for downloading pornography and only 13 per cent have had problems with staff spending too long online.

A third of UK employers say they have had no problems with staff abusing either email or Internet facilities.

Companies seem to be more relaxed even when problems are found. Warnings, formal or informal, are increasing and just over half of companies saying they took no action in at least "some instances".

Most companies do now have clear policies in place for email and Internet use - 92 per cent of respondents have such a policy. In 59 per cent of cases this allows employees to use email and the Internet for work purposes only. A quarter of businesses allow "essential non-work" use too.

The CIPD talked to 356 British companies for the survey. ®

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