Confessions of a security guard: Armaguard employee fails to prove porn movie’s “educational” value

Confessions of a security guard: Armaguard employee fails to prove porn movie’s “educational” value

The employee argued the film he was watching was “educational”

A security guard who was sacked for watching porn on the job has lost his unfair dismissal claim against the company that sacked him.

Renato Lusica was terminated from his job at Linfox Armaguard in March last year for alleged serious misconduct, after he was found to have watched a sexually explicit movie entitled Expert’s Guide whilst on duty in the control room.

The 67-year-old gave evidence that security guards often watched movies from a hard drive during a “lull period of their duty”. He said he was on an afternoon shift on February 28 last year during such a “lull” period when he switched on the hard drive.

“When I saw the movie, I noted that it was an adult film and I became curious. I was switching it on and off while I was not attending to people or during the lull time,” Lusica told the Fair Work Commission.

Lusica, who worked with the company for 14 years, was stood down in March, but alleged there was no “genuine investigation undertaken” into his conduct and that he was “set up” by his mangers to “find a way to dismiss” him.

He contended his watching of the video was not inappropriate because no on had seen him watch it and because the movie was “educational”.

“The unfair dismissal caused me severe emotional and financial hardship. I am now 68 years old and would be difficult to find another job. Had I been retrenched I would be entitled to redundancy payment consistent with my 14 years of service,” Lusica said.

Armaguard argued the video was clearly not “educational” and featured “very explicit, pornographic material”. The company gave evidence that CCTV footage showed Lusica watching the movie on and off for about an hour, minimising the screen when not viewing it.

Commissioner Roberts found the termination was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable, and Lusica had embarked on a course of conduct that led to him being dismissed.

“He was not dismissed as a result of some conspiracy against him but rather because his fascination with the movie’s content overcame his common sense,” said Commissioner Roberts.

In the commission’s view, Lusica’s age, background and experience, his lengthy period of employment, his future employment prospects and the economic and personal effects of the termination of employment on him did not outweigh his improper conduct.

Employment lawyer and M+K Lawyers partner Andrew Douglas told SmartCompany the case was an example of an employer having correct policies and procedures in place.

“If the employer has clear policies in place and has trained people about those policies that viewing material of this nature could lead to termination, and you do it anyway, then you can be terminated,” says Douglas.

Douglas says while there are some mitigating factors, such as the nature of the material and the length of which it is watched, these will be measured against an employee’s history. But in this case, the serious nature of the misconduct was enough to outweigh the employee’s history.

A spokesperson for Linfox Armaguard told SmartCompany it could not comment on the specifics of the case as it was ongoing, given Lusica had made an appeal against the decision.

“Armaguard is committed to providing an environment where team members are treated with dignity, courtesy and respect and can work without distress or interference caused by harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying or any other inappropriate workplace behaviour,” said the company in a statement.

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