Virgin Blue 'condoned porn in workplace'

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Sydney, June 10 (ANI): Sacked for watching porn, workers of the airline Virgin Blue alleged that the trend had been going on for a long time and the company had turned a blind eye to it before.

The five workers who have been sacked will challenge the suspension in court as unfair dismissals. The workers claimed that although the practice is officially illegal, the trend has been "a custom and practice of the workplace for a number of years and has been condoned by management throughout this time".

One of the workers alleged that sex was a part of culture at Virgin Blue - from the marketing strategies of owner Richard Branson to staff recruitment methods, and this had extended to the culture of the workplace.

"Virgin was sold to us as a good times employer and a sexy place to work - it's part of the culture," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted a staff member, who asked not to be named, as saying.

"The managers knew the porn was going around. It was stuff that was circulating through the company. It was sent to me and I sent it on to other people - and on that basis they dismissed me."

The airline claims that the workers were warned before being let off, but the Transport Workers Union said that the warning was made after the alleged breaches took place, and that workers ceased their pornography-swapping practices once it was received.

"The change in policy should not be made retrospectively when the company in the past has condoned [or] encouraged this culture through management," TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said.

"Virgin should have proper training regarding inappropriate offensive material, starting with Richard Branson, the editor of the in-flight magazine Voyeur, and the entire staff and management," he added.

It is understood Virgin is undertaking a company-wide investigation into pornography use, with everyone from engineers to cabin crew having their computers scanned by high-tech computer programs that check email inboxes for skin-toned images.

A Virgin Blue spokeswoman said the airline would "defend our actions vigorously". (ANI)

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