Flasher supervisor liable for disciplinary action

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Flasher supervisor liable for disciplinary action

A manager of a Queensland TAFE who exposed himself to a female worker has failed to convince the Supreme Court he was not liable for disciplinary action for his conduct.

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A manager of a Queensland TAFE who exposed himself to a female worker has failed to convince the Supreme Court he was not liable for disciplinary action for his conduct.

The female worker was hired by the operations manager to fill a part-time administrative position at Gympie Campus of the Cooloola Sunshine Institute of TAFE ('CSIT'), working in the same office as he did.

Between June and August 2005 the manager engaged in inappropriate workplace conduct toward the worker, including touching her, sending inappropriate text messages, addressing her as 'darl', using her personal details supplied in connection with her employment to visit her at home and he exposed his genitals and asked her to masturbate him.

The manager was also accused of failing to ensure the appropriate selection procedures were followed in the appointment of the female worker.

Penalty from investigation

In July 2006, a departmental investigator appointed by CSIT to investigate the worker's claims, found the inappropriate conduct allegations proved and also parts of the selection procedure allegation.

The investigator determined that an appropriate penalty may be the termination of the operation manager's employment, and gave him the opportunity to be heard on the question of penalty.

The manager sought to review the decision that he is liable to disciplinary action under the Public Service Act 1996, arguing the investigation process had been flawed.

Manager liable

Judge Douglas of the Qld Supreme Court found the manager's allegation that the investigator had failed to take into account evidence from other witnesses and himself to be unwarranted.

' ... the evidence had been analysed carefully and logically in a process approved by the first respondent (investigator) which argued persuasively why the evidence on which he relied should be accepted,' Judge Hardy said. 'That evidence was capable of supporting the conclusion that the applicant (manager) had exposed himself to the complainant (worker) and had behaved in respect of the other complaints found proved in the manner alleged against him.'

Judge Hardy also dismissed the submission the manager had been denied 'natural justice', finding his 'consistent history of being unwilling to be interviewed suggests there may have been little point in extending another opportunity to him to comment orally on possible factual findings that might be made against him, or to interview him or other witnesses in person in some attempt to assess his credit better'.

The application was dismissed.

Cawley v Casey & Anor [2007] QSC 5, 15 January 2007

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