By Wendy Shore on August 08, 2019

Use technology to protect employees from their own actions

A story from ABC News in Australia highlights the growing need for technolog, clear policyy and education in workplaces to protect employees from the consequences of their own behaviour.

Tax office worker sacked over email porn loses Fair Work Commission appeal

An Australian Tax Office (ATO) worker has lost an appeal against his dismissal for storing pornography and offensive files on his work computer.

An investigation into Thanh Vu’s email activity and material on his work computer uncovered an email inferring cannibalism, images of bestiality and sexually explicit prose.

As a result, the 53-year-old married father of four was sacked in August 2013.

Mr Vu had worked for the tax office since 2002 and his work included management of information technology (IT) accounts and systems.

He appealed to the Fair Work Commission over his dismissal, saying the material was emailed to him by friends and he either saved it to his computer or sent it to his home address to read later on.

The Commission heard the material was disturbing and grotesque.

Mr Vu argued that he had been unaware of the sexual nature of some of the content when he had saved it to a drive that was personal and accessible only to him.

But he conceded he had breached the ATO’s Code of Conduct several times by saving and forwarding the emailed material to himself.

Mr Vu also pointed out to the Commission his lengthy employment record with the Commonwealth and that he had received commendations for his work at the ATO.

It was also noted Mr Vu had immediately deleted all folders and emails unrelated to his work when he was notified of the breaches, had apologised and acknowledged his wrongdoing.

The Commission heard there was no allegation Mr Vu had downloaded the content while surfing the internet, or that he had distributed the material.

The Commission noted Mr Vu had a previous breach of IT policy brought to his attention and must have been aware of the seriousness of the matter.

In dismissing the appeal, the Commission described his actions as a flagrant breach of workplace rules.

It also found the termination of Mr Vu’s employment was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

Published by Wendy Shore August 8, 2019