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U.S.: Porn spam--legal minefield for employers

Porn spam--legal minefield for employers

By Declan McCullagh

Staff Writer, CNET

April 7, 2003, 4:00 AM PT

WASHINGTON--Lewd e-mail promoting pornography may soon pose more than just a technical challenge in the ongoing fight against spam--experts say it's set to become an acute legal problem, too.

Graphic images appearing unbidden on PCs by way of e-mail in-boxes could qualify as evidence of a "hostile work environment," something that's prohibited by federal employment law.

As a result, porn spam could begin to crop up in sexual harassment complaints from employees offended by the material. Even if companies aren't the source of such messages, they could be liable for hefty civil fines if managers know that porn spam is a problem and don't move to address it.