Let’s be Clear About Workplace Porn

The recent successful appeal by 3 former Australia Post employees sacked for having and distributing porn at work has been covered by some of the media in a distorted manner.

One article I read went as far as to say “Fair Work Commission Finds Porn Emails are Safe for Work”.

In reality this is not what the Fair Work Commission found at all. What they did decide is that there is a big continuum between unlawful/unsafe practices and sacking someone. And the behaviours these employees committed were unlawful and worthy of discipline- what the Tribunal said is that sacking the postal workers, the most serious discipline available for an employer, was not the appropriate discipline in their situation.

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Of more importance to employers, is, why did the Tribunal say, that in this situation the employees should not have been fired?

The tribunal found that the following factors needed to be taken into consideration by the employer-
1. The length of employment of the employees-which ranged between 11-17 years
2. Evidence of harm caused by the three workers sending porn to their friends at work- there was no evidence of harm
3. Australia Post had done nothing for several years to enforce its own standards on its workforce
4. Managers over the years had received the material and done nothing to warn employees that its distribution was against the rules

Yet again, regular training was one of the major factors that let the employer down. Australia Post had a responsibility to educate its staff REGULARLY about what was considered inappropriate behaviour. In addition they also have a responsibility to train their managers as to what to do if they observe or hear about inappropriate behaviour.

Don’t get caught out like Australia Post. Contact us today to find out what you can do to manage inappropriate workplace behaviours .