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FWC rules pornographic emails not always ‘sackable offence’

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has ruled that sending pornographic material via work email accounts isn’t cause for an automatic dismissal.

The controversial issue was taken to the FWC following the sacking of three Australia Post workers in Dandenong, Victoria. The trio had distributed sexually explicit material via their official Australia post email accounts.

Initially the commission upheld the dismissal, but upon appeal the full bench of the FWC unanimously found the dismissals were in fact harsh, and that the workers should be reinstated.

“There is an emerging trend… regarding the accessing, sending or receiving and storing of pornography by an employee as a form of serious misconduct that invariably merits termination of employment,” the FWC said in a statement.

Instead, it was argued by the commission that the same unfair dismissal laws apply in workplace pornography cases as with other forms of misconduct.

“[Pornography] is not a separate species of misconduct to which special rules apply,” the FWC statement also said. Factors included length of the workers’ tenure, track record and lack of warnings on the part of the employer, should have been taken in account.

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Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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