Facebook Use Lands Dallas Workers In Trouble

DALLAS (AP)  – Constantly checking Facebook at work may get you in trouble.

Two dozen Dallas City Hall workers received reprimands or counseling after a recent probe showed they spent too much time on the social networking site.

“It’s [Facebook at work] definitely on the ‘bad idea’ side,” said Dallas attorney Travis Crabtree. “You hear lots of horror stories out there about employees posting things about how they’re either playing hooky, or just fiddling around while they’re at the office and getting in trouble for it when their boss sees it.”

City officials are working on new employee guidelines for social media use. Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm says employees aren’t allowed to do personal business when they’re being paid by taxpayers.

“Computer equipment belongs to the company and technically your time belongs to the company too, while you’re there,” said Crabtree.

Cesar Baptista, an assistant director in the water department, had Facebook open for 68 hours during a three-month period. But Baptista said he often opened his Facebook page in the morning and didn’t close it while he did other things. He says he no longer opens the site at work.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • Malcolm

    Anything personal, texting, facebook ,playing games on company time is STEALING just as sure as if you shoplifted at Wal Mart,

    • zorki1c

      The Internet and texting is killing productivity. The main reason for texting is you can do it and your employer can’t tell what’s happening.. Given the number of folks who would be happy to have a job, texting at work should be grounds for automatic dismissal.

    • re: Malcolm

      I think you are slightly overreacting.

      • BizzyBobTaylor

        OK, then. How about borrowing without paying back.

      • Tom

        You were hired to do a job, and you are paid for that work. If you’re not doing that work but still taking the pay for iit, that’s theft.

        Start traking the time these employees spend NOT doing work while they’re on the clock then deduct it from their paychecks and adjust their benefits package accordingly.

      • Geosota

        You are under-reacting. Not only are the slackers still on the payroll, a counsellor has been added who bottom-line contributes nothing also.

      • muhammedx

        pay a guy by the hour to mow your lawn. Say, 10$ an hour. He takes three days to mow you lawn and charges you $240 (3-8 hour days). You review a tape of him working and see he spent 12 of the 24 hours he billed you for “facebooking”. Bet you a dollar to a donut you would demand he give back half your money if not all for stealing. You paid him to do your lawn NOT to facebook. That’s what us ignorant taxpayers are saying. Seems clear, and not a stretch from the fella equating it to shoplifting at all. In fact it’s spot on.

      • re: muhammedx

        Usually a lawn guy is paid a base price to make the lawn look good. If he takes three days to do it, then that’s his bad. Your analogy is flawed.

      • Rush

        His analogy isn’t flawed there, muhammed –

        It is predicated upon an hourly rate.

        The fact that a “lawn guy is usually paid a base price” is, of course, completely besides the point.

        His point could not be clearer.

        So stop being a tool…

    • Tomas

      A previous employer required everyone to get a Facebook account and use it to develop contacts and relationships with current and potential clients.

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/07/facebook-use-lands-dallas-workers-in-trouble-2/ Facebook Use Lands Dallas Workers In Trouble — Me and the Chicks

    […] or counseling after a recent probe showed they spent too much time on the social networking site. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… PreviousPost […]

  • StanM

    Is that what the taxpayers are paying for? Its about time to cut their budget, fire unnecessary employees and cut taxes.

    • lynn

      Exactly. With unemployment where it’s at right now I’m sure we could find plenty of people willing to WORK.

      • lest

        what is wrong with you two? Are you that ignorant about what is actually going on in your own damn city? Those people more than likely /want/ to work. But you’d be surprised with how well the Council Members and the higher Managers such as Miss Mary, could care less about /letting/ those employees work. lol… There is some major fraud occurring in our city, and no one is listening to the employees.

        How are they not letting them work?? Just ask Miss Mary how many of her employees have had panic attacks these past few months while she’s toys with her horrible budget; she is destroying entire departments and will make some completely useless come August 1st (the day hundreds of more layoffs are set to occur). The moral is horrible right now. If people are reaching out to friends and family during the day? Sorry-it’s not the worst thing they could be doing.

        Rant and rave about what’s actually ripping you off-not the employees that are as powerless to stop it as you are.

  • jmuriel

    Geez – the IT Dept cannot BLOCK Facebook. Just spend more money on counseling. No wonder our govt agencies are running out of OUR money.

    • JMWinPR

      Not only block these sites, but personal e-mail, Amazon, ebay, etc.
      Works for the military

      • headlessjester

        They just use iphones, they can still be written up though.

      • Dave

        Are you kidding? I’m in the military and the DoD has ORDERED last year that Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, etc all be unblocked so we can “reach out to the public”. Chairman JCS has a twitter account!!

      • Michelle "Hamburgler" Obama Speaks...

      • Phil Holst

        tell you what. I am an IT guy, and I use Facebook for actual work getting donated equipment to our non profit plus attract new folks to our site. I also can do a little thing known as ‘Multi Tasking’ – the reason why I got hired in the first place. I also work 6-7 days a week, two to three jobs, and I have no cell signal here, so that is how people are bale to reach me/ So, for all you technically backward folks out there that I have to save from yourselves in the IT realm, – stick it where it won’t shine.

      • Navy_Matt


        I’m in the Navy and we have full access to Amazon,YouTube, and Facebook.

    • http://shawnclark976.wordpress.com shawnclark976

      they should block it all and then allow the hand full of WORK RELATED websites only.

      • HarryO

        Our State blocks all social networking sites and any other sites deemed inappropriate, certainly makes it easier for everyone, youtube, facebook, myspace, and a host of other sites. All known porno sites, if a person streams ANYTHING too long the IT Department is on them, even if it’s listening to a radio show via the internet, they are using our infrastructure/bandwidth, and they are warned

    • Kip Noxzema

      You must not work for a large company, do you? The IT dept. can block any site they want to.


    Why is a public employee who is at work allowed to be connected to the internet at the expense of the tax payers?

    • headlessjester

      Believe it or not, the internet can actually be used for legit government business too. Most “work” these days involves, connecting to a network at some point or another.

    • duh

      Um, because some of the job tasks may require internet access?

    • parks & rec

      lmao is this a real question?

    • WoodNYC

      Are you really that dumb about technology or just a troll? The internet is not just facebook and gmail. There are millions of business related sites out there. What do you think the “cloud” in cloud computing is?

  • rbcintexas

    This should not be a problem – they have the ability to block any website for anytime or amount of time they desire. That is what private companies do. If the employee does not stay off sites like Facebook, don’t pay for counseling, just fire them. Word will quickly get out and people will stop the abuse just so that they won’t get fired. Rght now, nothing happens so they continue to do it.

    • headlessjester

      Firing someone that works for the government takes a lot of counseling over time before they can be let go. That’s why there’s so many government slackers that you have to beat with a stick to get them to move. They know there’s no real recourse.

  • Josh Nath

    Um, the IT department could just block facebook, problem solved.

    • Quark

      Um, no, problem not solved.

      It is not so easy as just blocking a site. The city is not a private corporation; they do not have full control over their systems.

      A city computer is city property – it belongs to the taxpayer. Most of the city’s employees are city taxpayers and the computers are partly theirs.

      I believe a court case in Virginia several years ago ruled that a city cannot block access to legal sites on publically-owned computers. They can block to certain sexually- or alcohol-related sites and some others, but something like Facebook doesn’t fall under those guidelines.

      So, the city computers are publically-owned and the workers are part of that public. They have the right to use the computers just as they would one any of the computers at, say, the library.

      The way to address this is to discipline the worker who is abusing this privilege, not by knee-jerking a punishment that affects all and sundry.

  • Harvey

    If there’s that many employees with so little to do that they can play on the internet then it’s time to start cutting the workforce.

    • lest

      Ever consider that these workers are doing this because they already know they will more than likely be out of a job come August 1st?? Because hundreds of employees with the city are in a tortuous limbo position right now, where they know 4 people out of their 6 person branch of a department will be let go on the 1st. No one is sure who will be gone, all they know is their chances of continuing are low. “start cutting the workforce”…HA what snide and easy joke for you to make Harvey since you obviously don’t have any idea what it’s like working for the city right now. It’s disgusting. You think that employees are even given the opportunity to report waste and fraud occurring safely and anonymously? hahah hardly.

      Morale is horrible right now amongst the city employees and you have no one to blame but your elected council members, our MIA mayor, and Miss Mary- who can’t balance an ethical budget to save her life.

      So many managers are coasting right now, forgetting that they are civil servants, and in the process they are preventing the employees from working. So while they deal with the stresses of this City of Dallas nightmare, some are finding any escape possible. You say cut them? Fine. But you’re going to have an even further broken city.

  • JD

    Why is facebook not one of many ‘blocked’ sites on city equipment?

  • Grape Danish

    With so many people out of work (the REAL unemployment number is 16.7%), those fortunate ones who still have a job need to make damn sure they are indispensable.

    These government workers who have so little respect for the taxpayers who are employing them need to be shown the unemployment line. If the City of Dallas can still function with so many of them working so little, they are obviously expendable.

  • TexasGuy

    This is such a no-brainer that you almost have to put some of the blame on Mary Suhm for not already having blocked Facebook as well as several other sites.

    • Jose Castro

      shes probably using it too!

  • Garce

    Most younger people don’t think it is stealing – they feel entitled to use their worktime as they wish, not as they are paid to do. But if someone uses their resources in the same manner they are outraged. This is why they must be monitored at all times – they will rob you blind if you don’t watch them every minute.

  • rexcars

    If all public employees worked to there fullest we could get rid of half of them and solve the financial problems of the country

  • adolf eiccman

    They are wrong but in their defense Dallas sucks.

  • Javitzso

    To those who claim that IT can easily block FB you neglect to realize a few things.
    #1: They are probably doing it on their personal phones.
    #2: Facebook is probably used for legitimate work by some people for social media marketing. It gets more expensive and convoluted when you start allowing only certain people access to certain pages.

    Either you will tire of it eventually or your work will suffer enough to get you fired. Since there won’t be any unemployment checks this next month … that’s a really bad path to choose.

    Regarding the guy mowing my lawn for 3 days @ $10 an hour? I would be watching and I would fire that guy within the first hour.

    • Dave

      You didn’t read the article. They obviously monitored work systems. Actually read the article before you comment.

  • ed357

    Block the site with your firewall and make it company policy to FIRE anyone caught on a company computer or personal smartphone on Social media sites during working hours……

    My daughter can’t even accept personal phone calls during working hours unless it’s an emergency.


  • duh

    And here we go with all of the “government workers are slacking comments.” I come home from work and look at Facebook. I see that many of my supposedly infallible private sector friends have been posting stuff all day. I am a teacher, and Facebook, webmail, internet radio, etc. are blocked.

    • Diane Emmerich

      Your private sector friends are not being paid by Mr and Mrs taxpayer. It has everything to do with accountability.

      • duh

        But they are equally slacking when they do the same thing on their jobs.

  • ron

    Anyone who spends ANY time on Facebook or any other site that is not required for their job should be looking for a job.

  • Jose Castro

    Just disable Social Networking, Come on its City Hall!
    Thats like Police Officers fighting crime updating their Status all the time! LOL

  • CSR

    Why don’t they block sites they don’t want you to use. My former employer did.

  • smashicus

    Why do these juicebags even need internet access at work?

    • duh

      Have you ever heard of the “cloud?” EVERYTHING is stored there now.

  • Kip Noxzema

    First, why isn’t Facebook blocked?
    Second, why are these full-time workers, if they don’t do any work?
    Third, what other sites are they visiting?
    Fourth, do you see how tax dollars are being wasted on public sector employees and unions?

  • http://thedailyconservative.net/2011/07/13/dallas-city-hall-workers-ordered-counseling-for-too-much-facebook/ Dallas City Hall Workers Ordered Counseling For — Too Much FACEBOOK… | The Daily Conservative

    […] (Third column, 10th story, link) […]

  • role reversal

    So I text a work colleague to solve a problem on MY phone, and I access work e-mail on MY phone on/after hours, and I use MY phone for work related uses. When is my job going to start contributing to MY phone bill for the services used on MY phone??? It’s new world, and some of you need to get out of your Ozzie and Harriet mode of thinking. I’m not saying what these people did were justified, I’m just saying it all comes down to moderation. And as always, there is a handful of people will abuse the privilege.

    • David ratz

      They should be paying for your use. Insomuch that in the case of a legal invesigation the law can follow any computer you access investigatiing.

  • New Reality

    As long as I am doing my job “at or above” expectations then what I do on my phone is my business. As far a personal stuff on a work computer…that’s just stupid, and your just asking for trouble.

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