Dismissal of security man for trying to share alleged child abuse video ‘too severe’ - WRC

Staff member said he thought the naked female in the video was ‘the legal age’

The security man said  he was sent the video by a friend and that he didn’t check it before he tried to send it on.  File image: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The security man said he was sent the video by a friend and that he didn’t check it before he tried to send it on. File image: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

A security firm has been ordered to re-employ a staff member it fired for attempting to circulate a video featuring alleged child abuse via Facebook messenger.

This follows a finding by Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) that the security man was unfairly dismissed in May of this year.

The man was dismissed for gross misconduct after a disciplinary meeting where he stated that he thought that the naked female in the video was “the legal age” but that he didn’t watch the full video.

WRC adjudication officer Catherine Byrne found the dismissal “was too severe and that a more reasonable sanction would have been a final written warning”.

Ms Byrne said the security man’s conduct was “extremely serious and may possibly be found to be a criminal offence”.

However, she said in her view the employer should have accepted the security man’s explanation “that he made a mistake by attempting to share the video which contained an image of child pornography”.

In addition, she noted, “the potentially criminal behaviour was not directed at the employer and I find that, apart from this incident, the complainant was an exemplary worker, with a sense of gratitude for his job and with no motivation whatsoever to harm his employer”.

Ms Byrne found the dismissal was unfair as the employer conducted the investigation meeting and the disciplinary hearing without making a more robust effort to explain to the security man the benefit of being represented.

Ms Byrne stated that instead of the dismissal, the company should issue a final written warning to the worker and “re-engage” him before December 17th.

She said the period of seven months from the date of his dismissal last May is to be considered as unpaid suspension.

The man was unfairly dismissed arising from him attempting to send a video via Facebook messenger using his mobile phone while stationed at a gate office of a multinational company on April 22nd last.

There were seven or eight people in the group, including some work colleagues and the complainant’s brother and cousins.

The videothe man attempted to send was blocked by Facebook and his account was suspended for three days.

The security man used the guest wifi and on April 30th, the client tech company informed the complainant and the security company’s human resources manager that the video he attempted to share contained an image of child exploitation.

The incident was reported to the Garda and it recommended the man be removed from his role .

In his submission , the man said “what I did was bad, but the punishment is too severe”. He said he was sent the video by a friend and that he didn’t check it before he tried to send it on.