In his decision, Spooner wrote: “It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work.”
He added: “For this reason, city agencies permit workers to use a telephone for personal calls, so long as this does not interfere with their overall work performance. Many agencies apply the same standard to the use of the Internet for personal purposes.” —Judge: Web-Surfing Worker Can’t Be Fired (Yahoo!|AP (will expire))
This sounds reasonable. An employer certainly has the right to discipline workers who are not doing their jobs, but simply the act of using the internet shouldn’t be a terminal offense.