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Kennedy AL. 'More Sinned Against Than Sinning' Telstra Corporation Ltd v Streeter. 2008.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/1715
'More Sinned Against Than Sinning' Telstra Corporation Ltd v Streeter
This case concerns the recent successful appeal of the decision in Streeter v Telstra Corporation Ltd. After a belated work Christmas party, Telstra retail employee Carlie Streeter had sex with a male colleague in close proximity to three other female co-workers in a hotel room they were all sharing. She also remained in the bathroom with two male colleagues while one of the female co-workers used the toilet. Telstra subsequently terminated Streeter's employment for several reasons, including that she had sexually harassed her fellow employees. It was also stated that Streeter had been dishonest in answering questions put to her during Telstra's investigation of the incident. At first instance, Hamberger SDP found that she was unfairly dismissed, as her conduct was insufficient to amount to sexual harassment, notwithstanding the upset it caused to the other employees. It was also held that the conduct occurred well away from the workplace, in a privately booked and paid for hotel room. While it was agreed that Streeter had been dishonest during Telstra's investigation of the incident, in the circumstances it was considered that her conduct was not such as to warrant termination, and that overall she was a woman 'more sinned against than sinning'. Telstra was ordered to re-employ Streeter at another retail outlet and to pay compensation for lost remuneration. However, a 2-1 majority of the Full Bench of the AIRC recently upheld Telstra's appeal against the earlier ruling, finding that Telstra was justified in dismissing Streeter due to her dishonesty during their investigations. This decision re-ignites the debate concerning the blurred boundaries between work life and private life. More particularly, it has important implications for when an employee may be answerable to an employer for their out-of-hours conduct.