Court refuses to instruct BoI to identify 150 porn email staff

Employee sacked for sending pornographic emails wants ‘other links in the chain’ named

Thu, Oct 17, 2013, 16:44

A judge has refused to direct Bank of Ireland to identify more than 150 of its senior staff, middle management and top executives, alleged to have engaged in the exchange of pornographic emails.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court today refused to extend orders of discovery to include their names. She affirmed an order of the County Registrar directing discovery of dozens of the offending emails and documents.

Barrister Johanna Ronan-Mehigan had told the court she needed to know who they were. Only then could she properly contest a bank challenge to an order of the Employment Appeals Tribunal directing the reinstatement of a former manager singled out for dismissal.

James Reilly, of Edgewood Lawn, Blanchardstown, Dublin, was sacked by the bank in 2009 following disciplinary action it took when an outside agency complained about its email service being jammed by pornographic images emanating from the bank.

Mr Reilly, a manager in the bank’s Blanchardstown branch, had been identified as a link in the soft-porn dirty-joke chain of emails. He was disciplined and sacked.

The tribunal decided he had been unfairly dismissed and directed the bank to reinstate him. He had borrowed a large sum of money from his employer who was threatening to re-possess his house because he was unable to meet repayments.

The bank has appealed the tribunal’s decision to the Circuit Civil Court which has laid aside seven days later this month for a new hearing.

Mr Reilly had claimed at the tribunal that he had forwarded “pornographic, rude, racist and sexist e-mails” he had received from other employees of the bank in order to mask his homosexuality.

He said many other links in the chain had not been sacked.

“They have hidden behind the cloak of anonymity in the tribunal proceedings and I want them named so I can subpoena them to give evidence in the appeal,” Ms Ronan-Mehigan had told the court.

Mary Fay, counsel for the bank, said Mr Reilly’s legal team had already been provided with extensive discovery, more than was necessary.

“Now they want the names of more than 150 staff. Where does it all end?” she said.

The tribunal decided the outcome of an in-house disciplinary process by the bank had been predetermined and at least some of the key decision makers in the process had not exhibited the required independence.

One of the emails before the tribunal, from a member of staff in a senior role, contained a picture of paedophile Gary Glitter on a shopping trip in the Far East with a child’s head popping out of a shopping bag.