Don’t wait 18 months to uncover misuse of your email system

The interesting article below reports on an employee’s recent failed appeal against his sacking related to pornographic emails in the workplace.

His dismissal was the result of an investigation uncovering misuse over an 18month period, which is clearly a highly reactive approach. How much more positive the outcome would have been for all if technology had been implemented and a clear policy communicated to the employees that the sending and receiving of pornographic images via email breached the company Acceptable Use Policy.

This would have been a significantly more proactive approach and one which would have mitigated 18 months of potential threat to the employer from the employee’s activity and ensured a potentially valuable employee kept their job.

Image Analyzer is available from the majority of Email security vendors and full advice on drafting and implementing Acceptable Use Policies is also available from these vendors.

Legal bid fails over porn emails sacking

A former SA Health employee who was sacked over pornographic
emails has lost a legal challenge seeking his job back.

The man, who cannot be named, was sacked in May.

Over 18 months, he sent and received more than 130 emails
containing pornographic images and videos.

His actions were detected after an investigation found he
was part of a network of people sending or receiving inappropriate emails from two
other government employees.

While admitting his misconduct, the man told the Industrial
Relations Commission his dismissal was harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

He said the other government employees had been reprimanded
and had their pay cut and he had been treated less favourably, despite his 35 years
of public service.

But the Commission found the sacking was a reasonable
response by SA Health and dismissed the challenge.

IRC Deputy President Karen Bartel said the man had known the
consequences he could face.

“The applicant did not attempt to downplay the
seriousness of his conduct. He was aware of the policy requirements and the
professional standards of conduct expected of a public sector employee and of
an employee in his position,” she said.

“He understood that the employer enforced its policy
and that termination may be a consequence of the conduct he engaged in. The
applicant’s actions could have exposed the employer to claims for sexual
harassment and/or discrimination if the inappropriate material was accidentally
viewed by another employee.

“The decision to dismiss was not unjust, because the
applicant was guilty of the misconduct and was not unreasonable because the
employer proceeded on the relevant facts.”