According to a SurfControl survey of workers based in the United Kingdom, 31 percent of nonmanagerial employees report using consumer-grade IM primarily because it enables them to engage in the type of activity they would otherwise steer clear of when using the company’s e-mail system. 
Presumably, these employees prefer IM because it’s rarely monitored or governed as strictly as e-mail. Of those surveyed, 26 percent work for an organization with no IM policy in place, and 34 percent don’t know if an IM policy exists at their place of business. 
Adding to employers’ liability concerns: 6 percent of U.S. employees surveyed by the Employment Law Alliance report engaging in ‘‘steamy’’ instant messaging at the office. Another 12 percent confess that they or their colleagues send pornographic e-mail to coworkers. 
Thanks to IM and e-mail, harassment disputes no longer are ‘‘he said–she said’’ scenarios. As stated previously, employee e-mail and instant messages create written business records that may be subpoenaed as evidence—for or against you—in the event of a workplace lawsuit.
Christopher Saunders, ‘‘Study: Workplace IM Users Seek to Bypass IT Control,’’ InstantMessagingPlanet.com (January 9, 2004), www.instantmessagingplanet.com/security/article.php/3297671
Eric Wahlgren, ‘‘Looking for E-Love—at Work,’’ Business-Week Online (February 12, 2004), www.businessweek.com.