New York City Fires Employee for Surfing the Web

Despite a judge's recommendation that he only receive a reprimand, a city worker accused of disregarding warnings to stay off the Internet at work has been fired.

The office computer of Toquir Choudhri, a 14-year veteran of the Department of Education, had been used to visit news and travel Web sites.

Last month, Administrative Law Judge John Spooner ruled that surfing the Web at work is equivalent to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone.

He recommended the lightest possible punishment for Choudhri. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein disagreed.

"The penalty of termination is appropriate and not shocking to one's sense of fairness," Klein said Friday.

Choudhri's "abuse of the Internet at the time he is supposed to be performing his job demonstrates his disinterest in the job," Klein said.

Choudhri's lawyer, Martin Druyan, called the firing a "political decision."

"It's unfair, it's shocking to the conscience and it's contrary to the facts and the law," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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