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Sender of Porn Email Exonerated

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Oct 1, 2003 12:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
SWEDEN – After an extensive review by authorities in the Swiss capitol of Bern, a high court reversed the fate today of a man accused by his employer of sending pornographic content via email to a person outside of the company.

The worker was fired from his job under dubious terms after his employer, an unidentified corporation in Bern, determined that the man had violated a company policy pertaining to the appropriate use of the company's email system.

The email was reportedly discovered by a third party in the firm and reported to upper management.

The firing incident came directly on the heels of the resignation of an employee with the same firm who claimed to be leaving because of the frequency of offensive emails from colleagues.

Shortly after the resignation, the firm claims to have circulated an office memo warning employees that inappropriate email behavior would result in either a company reprimand or dismissal.

Weeks later, the worker was caught sending the email containing pornographic content to a friend, although at the time he claims to have been under the impression that sending an email outside of the company containing porn content was acceptable behavior.

After months of debate and public outcry, The Federal Tribunal determined that the company had acted unfairly in its dealings with the worker, and that its decision had been inappropriate.

The Tribunal ordered the Bern firm to pay the fired employee damages of 26,000 in Swiss francs, or $19,700 (U.S).

The Tribunal stated that there must be a distinction between cases of sexual harassment in the workplace and occasions when a pornographic email is sent to someone who might be willing to receive it.

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