Employment and Migration Blog

Sharing porn says more about your workplace culture than your staff

Posted by Anna Ford on 18 Nov 2013

In a case that was brought before Fair Work Australia, three Australia Post employees were sacked after sending pornographic material in work emails. Fair Work said that the employees were treated harshly and a recent ruling in their favour said that the employees should not be automatically sacked for such conduct (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/workplace-culture-key-to-porns-acceptability-20130904-2t5sb.html).

 

 

The article suggests that the distribution of porn in the workplace was a symptom of a larger problem with workplace culture. While it is very important for employees to be aware of the consequences of sending such content via email or posting such content on social media sites, it is also important to remember that there is an obligation on employers to establish and maintain a sound, safe and professional work environment. It is also important that employees have proper training from human resources in regards to workplace discrimination, harassment and social media - and that appropriate policies covering those areas are in place.

 

Further, employers need to be aware that in situations like that faced by Australia Post, employers need to reflect on the workplace culture they are creating or have created, and whether or not it has in any way contributed to the situation and or in any way has allowed such conduct to occur. Incidents such as this will not be one off if there is an underlying culture and issues that are not addressed, and such behaviour / conduct is allowed to continue.

 

If you need advice on properly addressing workplace incidents or concerns regarding workplace culture please contact our experienced employment lawyers on (02) 9635 6422.