URGENT info required re website loading. GF might lose job!

bit of a strange question but it is pretty urgent. My Girlfriend is being accused of being on the internet at work for ridiculous amounts of time. I.E for 3 hours plus etc
there is no way she could do that as she wouldn’t actually be doing any work at all.

My question is if she opened ‘hotmail’ for example and left the tab open, does hotmail reload itself and count as still being active on the server logs? Would that could as a click even though she didn’t actually go back to the tab and view it?

any help would be appreciated.

B*****ds are trying to get screw her over.

Most websites/webapps are “stateless”, meaning that the browser downloads all the data then ‘disconnects’ while it’s parsing said data. However, I think that Google GMail (and possibly others like it) might retain the connection so to have instant updating (like when a new email arrives - you don’t have to refresh the browser to see the new email, it just appears in the DOM.) This, theoretically, might account for “hours and hours” of registered online browsing. But I can’t say, for sure.


If they are monitoring her internet usage they should have a log of her actions?

Yeah… more and more employers are routing all traffic through proxies so they can monitor who is doing what. It’s frequently part of the employment agreement. Heck, I work for DoD… there isn’t anything they don’t monitor.


I can’t speak about Hotmail, but Gmail does that to my recollection (I don’t use my Gmail accounts much). So yes, any web page that has Javascript in it to refresh content or any analytics type of hit counter that has a “heartbeat” feature can make a request on its own that would make an entry in a log. So it could appear that someone is using the internet when they are not if they have a browser window open. A news website I visit refreshes banner ads at regular intervals. So that, too, would show traffic.

I was looking at active connections in some program (I can’t remember what) and was surprised at how many times Javascript in certain web pages was communicating with servers without my knowledge.

thank guys,

thats what i was thinking. i know for sure she couldn’t be on it all day as she was in meetings on some of the days.
They are out to get her.

Lucky they aren’t very clever so i’ve just cut holes in everything they have said.

wish her luck for tomorrow.


Sounds like a horrible situation. Good luck.

Indeed. Hopefully things work out. If not, then I hope she finds a much better job.


Indeed I do hope so the same. Still, even if it is not true that she’s been hours looking at her e-mail, she must be aware that she is using the company resources both in the form of time away from work and internet connection, hardware usage, etc.

Now, I don’t think any company minds if you check your e-mail and have a quick look to know if there’s something urgent one day.

It is different when this behaviour is repeated regularly and it does take time from your regular work.

I’m telling you this because what she may think that it is a fair use, it may not be as such.

The truth is that when we’re on the job, we shouldn’t be checking our personal accounts. We’re working. We’re not paid for doing personal stuff. And while we all do it from time to time, it shouldn’t be a regular thing.

And for what I’ve read, for your girlfriend it is. She logs into her hotmail account everyday and leaves it open to know when she has a new mail. For starters, this indicates that she’s more interested and pays more attention to her personal stuff than the job itself (which it may be natural, up to a point). For seconds, she may be speding more time cleaning her personal account from spam, or answering to e-mails than she’s receiving than she thinks and the company may have a point: she may do her part of the job but not excelling because she’s distracted with personal stuff.

those are fair points. But the company does allow employees to use the internet for personal use as long as it doesn’t interfere with work. She misses lunch most days and rarely leaves work on time so checking emails a few times a day shouldn’t be an issue as this was in personal time (So missing lunch is made up for by 5 minutes checking emails a couple of times a day, which i think is within reasonable useage). And if it is it should be brought up in a one to one meeting before being escalated to full scale disciplinary action.

Her job is in retail so actually requires the visiting of other competitor sites for comparison. A lot of the ‘log’ showed vague things like ‘google search’ which she uses for her role.

They were basically looking to construct a case to fire her…

On the bright side though she did win :slight_smile:

the had to back down and settle for a written warning for the mistake. The internet part of it was basically dropped as they knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on, as the log was massively sketchy. The log showed ‘Skype’ being used yet her computer doesn’t have skype installed. It’s a company computer and is locked by admin so she couldn’t have installed it even if she wanted. She was also accused of watching youtube for hours at a time. Where in reality she would put on a playlist and listen to music. Her line-manager had even asked if she could get IT to unlock youtube for her too. So the line-manager is a proper B as she knew exactly what it was being used for but was trying to get her into trouble.

A few lessons learn’t, including write down everything.

thanks for all your thoughts and help

oh she will be looking for a new job asap

That is what it sounded like to me. No business would get rid of a valuable employee because of internet usage at work unless they were intentionally searching for any possible reason to justify termination. That is a weak argument that someone is using the internet too much.

Good idea. If they used this dirty trick to try to get rid of her, they will use another. On the flip side, perhaps she should have let them terminate her for this bogus reason then filed a lawsuit against them. Or maybe she could still file a lawsuit based on emotional distress or a bogus reason like discrimination. If they are trying to ruin her career for a bogus reason, it justifies a lawsuit for a bogus reason. That is what it is: they are trying to ruin her career (and future opportunities elsewhere) by defaming her and making false claims. “She’s a slacker who spends all day surfing the internet instead of working!”

I do not know where you are located, but in many states here in America employees are “at will”, meaning they can be terminated at any time for any reason. If she is in one of those locations, she could have been terminated without the emotional distress of defending herself against the company coming up with a phony claim against her.

In most cases I believe that employment-related lawsuits are frivolous. In this case, not only is her employer creating emotional distress, but a termination could result in great difficulty finding another job. Time to seek a free consultation with a lawyer.

I didn’t want to imply that your girlfriend did anything wrong. More than sometimes we all think that we do a fair usage and we don’t realize how much time we spend on things that non-work related. And I know because sometimes I did too so I’m the first to blame. The fact that my job was done or that I missed my lunched didn’t make it any better. I could have been productive somewhere else.

We’re simply unable to see where we were wrong and think that the other party is just unfair on us. But if you have to be honest with someone, that’s definately yourself :slight_smile:

But, yes, checking your e-mail from time to time shouldn’t be an issue.

Definately, it is much nicer if someone talked to her and explained her the situation and why.

Glad to hear it.

I think she should. If the manager can be that abusive once, it can happen twice. And I’m sure that this manager is not creating a good environment to work in for many reasons. She will be better off somewhere else

thanks for the replies. Molona don’t worry i took you arguments as fair points to consider.

The parting shot from the manager in the HR meeting was ’ well i’ll be watching you like a hawk and the next mistake you make you’ll be out!’

She will be putting in a written complaint for bullying tomorrow!

We’ve in the UK and there are many steps that have to be taken before you can terminate someones employment. There has to be verbal warnings and written warning, unless it is classed to be Gross negligence and then you can be fired immediately. They were trying for Gross negligence as she’d made a small mistake, which the next person should have picked up but didn’t, so extra stock was ordered by the second person. The internet stuff was just tacked on to make the case stick. ironically it did the opposite as we beat them down on pretty much every point. and was completely out of proportion to the mistake.

Other people had made the same mistake and just got a verbal warning.

As you say in some respects its a shame she wasn’t fired as she would have more than likely won a lot of compensation after we took them to court.

either way they aren’t going to bully her out of the company.

thanks all

Good on you. I was in a similar situation once. My husband and I both worked in different departments at the same company. He left and went to a competitor and I was accused of passing him sensitive information. It was ridiculous. I never did anything even slightly questionable. I decided to stay on because I felt like leaving would be an indication of guilt. It was hard for a while but I’m glad I stuck with it.

I hope things work out better for your gf.

Yikes! That’s tough.

I did have my share of tough time in UK. I didn’t like it then but now I’m glad that it happened. You learn a lot about your colleauges :slight_smile:
Never been in a situation like that before… and I’ve never been in situation like that after.

Sounds like a scenario where having union representation behind her would help.

Quick update. We did a bit of digging and spoke nicely to the IT guys and apparently when my girlfriend got a new computer about 6 months ago they re-issued her old machine… But they never removed the computer number from her account. So she has 2 computers logged as belonging to her :slight_smile:

We were also confused as they accused her of trying to download ‘downloadprivateDOTcom’ to hide her internet useage…turns out to be malware and most probably was trying to auto install from a 3rd party site. Which might not have even been on ‘her’ computer.

they are getting an appeal on their hands and a complaint against the manager who investigated this.

Wow! That’s a huge miss from her manager! Definately, not a very good investigation there