I went to my boss last Wednesday morning, and reported that I had found pornography on the machine, as per company policy (in our workplace, it's in printed format, in Comic Sans, unfortunately, but it's an important document).

The pictures were stored in a folder called "Negotiations 1200437" and I saw a shortcut to a PDF on the desktop (the Mac alias icon) which was partially how I found it.

In any case, the pornography was labelled as "Workplace Image 001.jpg", "Workplace Image 002.jpg" etc. so you would think it was a generic image (we have to take photos at work, this is a non-profit organization that works with adults who have Down's Syndrome/autism spectrum disorder here in the state of South Carolina), but the actual "Workplace Image 001.jpg" turned out to be from a risqué bikini site (it said so in the image as text).

The files were shown as having a creation date of Saturday 26 August 2017, and I doubt anyone could have used date-changer software, since on the machines we can't install new software and Internet history can't be deleted (well, unless you're on admin accounts). Also, I only work Monday to Thursday so could not have done this.

I reported it to the boss, showed him the terminal and he said to me "Jacqui, I'm suspending you for having pornographic material on your work computer, don't give me the BS that you didn't download it, because you did." (Jacqui isn't my real name, btw).

I think that, but can't prove, someone has set it up. I wouldn't download adult material to my computer, I keep my work and private life separate, if not silo'ed.

I'm now suspended for two weeks, and getting a salary.

The boss, by the way, is an interim one, as the old boss retired, and he's only here until we can find a new one.

It's not that me and the boss don't get on (we don't often see each other, but when we do, there's no hostility usually), but is it unusual to suspend someone for reporting finding adult material on their computer?.

I don't know what to do for the best here, I've been at this company since March 2008 (I'm now 36 years old) and everything has been going fairly well so far and I get on with most of my co-workers.

My job involves direct contact with adults with Down's syndrome and autism at an adult day center.

I'd really like some help on this issue as my basic problem is:

"Found adult material on my computer, reported it to boss, but he doesn't believe me when I told him it could not have been me."

BTW, my username is a pseudonym for privacy.

  • 4
    Doesn't your computer have a login password?
    – Masked Man
    Sep 3, 2017 at 9:37
  • 3
    It's not weird to suspend someone for having inappropriate material on their computer, but it is weird to do so if they're the one who reported it. But I'm not sure you really have any recourse here at the moment (if you get fired or suspended without pay, it might be a different story, but that's something to ask a lawyer) - now would be the time to start locking your computer or, if not possible, speak to someone in your company (other than your boss, preferably) regarding how to deal with or prevent unauthorised access to your computer. Sep 3, 2017 at 10:42
  • 1
    Well seems like you found your boss's secrets files. Or someone really don't like you there.
    – Walfrat
    Sep 3, 2017 at 15:21
  • Was it child porn or other illegal and nasty things? If yes, report to the police. Do not hesitate. If it was regular porn than anyone, anywhere in the world can access and download with only a few mouse clicks... Then I would really wonder why you care this much.
    – bobflux
    Sep 3, 2017 at 20:28
  • 1
    Is this you? workplace.stackexchange.com/q/98280/584 Sep 3, 2017 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


There's not much you can do as this will boil down to a case of your boss' word against yours.

From what you describe, I would be looking for another place to work. I personally wouldn't feel secure in my career knowing I could get punished so easily without so much as an investigation.

However, if you do decide to stay (and even if you don't), you should adopt some best practices:

  1. Learn to lock your computer. Don't forget to set a password. Leaving your terminal unsecured is the easiest way for a threat to gain access to things they shouldn't. At the very minimum, it exposes you to nefarious activities by an ill minded co-worker.

    • On Windows use WindowsL

    • Setup "hot corners" or ControlShift Power Button or ControlShift Media Eject on a Mac.

  1. Learn to document everything in writing. This should have been sent to your boss via email and BCC'd to your personal email address. It goes a long way to establishing credibility/removing cuplpability with your boss' higher ups should/when an investigation ensue.

  2. Remove Comic Sans from your available fonts. There is absolutely zero reasons to use Comic Sans in any sort of business communication. This will go a long way in establishing your credibility as a professional in the future.

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