Concerns over employee privacy and morale are leading a growing number of companies to ease restrictions on employee use of the Internet for personal activities.

Managers are hearing strong protests from employees over tough policies that allow them to monitor Internet use and bar workers from using e-mail for personal reasons.

Some companies are now allowing for "minor incidental personal use" of the Internet as long as it doesn't interfere with work or violate other company rules, says Michael Overly, author of E-Policy, an employer's guide.

Some attorneys are advising their corporate clients to revisit their Internet policies and be sure they articulate them in detail to the workforce.

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