A police officer who was dismissed for serious misconduct for breaches of the New South Wales Police Force Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying Policy and Guidelines has failed in his attempt to have his employment reinstated: Torres v Commissioner of Police.

Serious misconduct was constituted mostly by Mr Torres asking junior colleagues personal and intrusive questions about sexual activity.

Mr Torres had an impressive twenty six years of service including a commendation for bravery.

This, however, was not able to save him.

His explanations that there was a culture of dirty talk where he worked and what he admitted to saying was meant as a joke were not accepted.

Workplaces must be safe for employees. 

Discussions that are sexually explicit and seen as sexually harassing cannot be tolerated.

In this case the employer could point to policy guidelines that made clear the rules and expectations in the workplace.

In our experience many employers do not have appropriate written policies and procedures in place and don’t have proper training to ensure that any policies are implemented.

Employers must educate their employees about how to conduct themselves at work and have clear policies that state what is in and what is out for conversation and behaviour.

Nevett Ford Melbourne lawyers can provide timely and proactive advice to employers on appropriate discipline and dismissal of employees based on misconduct in the workplace.