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Man Wins Lawsuit Against Company Which Fired Him For Watching Porn

By Kim Barloso , Oct 05, 2016 04:44 PM EDT
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Getting fired for viewing porn at work is likely, but getting legal compensation for it is also possible. In Australia, a former insurance manager was awarded $10,000 after winning an unfair dismissal case. His former employer, a company called Smarter Insurance Brokers, fired him upon finding evidence that he has been downloading and viewing pornographic material on his company-issued laptop. 

The decision was made in the premise that employers who want pornography use in work devices to be a terminable offense must explicitly say so in its company policies.

Unfortunately, that was not the case with Smart Insurance Brokers. In fact, porn access was used as the "last straw" for the employer to fire the erring employee. Prior to dismissal, the employee received "a string of verbal warnings" on poor performance. For several months, the company looked into the employee's phone and browser history and found that he indeed viewed, downloaded and stored hardcore porn in his laptop, including a sex tape that involved the employee himself.

During the trial, the employee's defense stated that he downloaded porn during his lunch break, after work and outside work premises.

Commissioner Ian Cambridge, who presided on the case, said that while this behavior surely warrants a misconduct offense, it's not enough to fire an employee. He also said that there was no evidence that the employer announced or implemented a policy that defined the extent and limitations of using work equipment, including computers and mobile phones.

"In the particular circumstances of this case, the subsequently discovered misconduct involving the accessing, downloading and storage of pornographic material could not be properly held to represent valid reason for the dismissal of the applicant," he said.

The company was ordered to pay the former employee eight weeks worth of salary, amounting to $10,000. 

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