Compo for sacked manager who downloaded porn to work laptop

The Australian, October 4, 2016:

A Port Macquarie insurance manager who downloaded “hardcore pornographic mat­erial”, including video of himself having sex, to his work laptop has been compensated $10,000 for unfair dismissal.

Allan Croft was sacked by Smarter Insurance Brokers in January for unsatisfactory work performance but the company later relied on the pornography-related allegations after discovering the conduct following his dismissal.

Mr Croft did not deny using his employer-provided mobile and laptop to download “hard-core pornographic material”, but suggested it was done on a lunch break or outside work hours.

He said he probably downloaded some of the material “walking the streets” of Port Macquarie. He also did not deny the laptop contained video of him performing sex acts

Fair Work Commissioner Ian Cambridge said ordinarily the use of employer-provided equipment to access and download hardcore pornographic mat­erial would represent misconduct. “Unless the employee worked in the sex industry, it would be difficult to contemplate that the viewing, downloading and/or storage of pornographic material represented proper, work-related use of the employer’s equipment,’’ he said.

Mr Cambridge said Mr Croft’s vigorous but questionable defence of his actions was an underlying acknowledgment of the misconduct.

“In this case there was no evidence that the employer had promulgated any particular policy regarding the use of its equipment being confined to work-related activities.’’ he said.

“Further, there was some contested evidence as to whether some directors of the employer may have also partici­pated in accessing, downloading and disseminating pornographic material in the workplace.’’

The downloading appeared to have occurred on three separate occasions.

Mr Croft was awarded $10,000 compensation, equivalent to eight weeks’ pay.