Jul 142009
 
 July 14, 2009  Posted by  Non-U.S., Workplace

A worker sacked for sending dozens of grubby emails has got his job back after successfully arguing that the correspondence was part of a wider work culture.

Philip Walker said a culture of sending emails “where the content was not likely to offend and was banter between colleagues” existed at his Safe Air workplace in Blenheim.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) found in Mr Walker’s favour, awarding him $1000 for “a loss of dignity and injury to his feelings’ and ordering Safe Air to reinstate him.

Read more in The New Zealand Herald. There is some commentary on the case and its implications by an employment lawyer here.

If I apply the logic described, it seems that if a company does not make its policies clear to employees about appropriate use of its computer network or databases, it may be difficult to fire an employee for misuse. Just another reminder on the importance of ensuring that employees know and acknowledge privacy and security policies.

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