NEW YORK (AP) _ Surfing the Web at work is equivalent to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone, an administrative law judge said in recommending the lightest possible punishment for a city worker accused of disregarding warnings to stay off the Internet.
The case involved Toquir Choudhri, a 14-year veteran of the Department of Education, whose office computer had been used to visit news and travel Web sites.
``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,'' Administrative Law Judge John Spooner said in recommending only a reprimand for Choudhri.
The judge noted that city agencies allow workers to make personal calls if it doesn't interfere with their work performance.
Choudhri's lawyer, Martin Druyan, called the ruling ``very reasonable.''