Overview 

A 59-year-old engineer with an unblemished career of 41 years with Qantas filed proceedings under s 394 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for unfair dismissal. Qantas had issued iPads to engineers to remotely access the IT system. The iPad was permitted to be used for personal use and able to be set to either ‘corporate’ and ‘personal’ privacy settings. Statements collated prior to their issue to employees outlined that Qantas could not view personal material stored on the device, including web history and photographs. 

In July 2018, a co-worker raised an internal complaint, alleging the Applicant on two separate occasions viewed pornography on the device in front of several co-workers. The Applicant maintained that the iPad was used to download content on the ‘personal’ privacy setting in their own time and on their own Wi-Fi connection at home. Qantas outlined it contravened the ‘Standards of Conduct’ and ‘IT’ policies and dismissed the employee. 

Decision 

Deputy President Asbury outlined that ‘By viewing pornography in the workplace, the Applicant placed Qantas at risk in its duty of care to its own employees and those of its contractors’. The Application was dismissed. 

Case Note 

https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FWC/2020/2989.html?context=1;query=occupational%20health%20and%20safety;mask_path=