Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fired bank boss emailed porn to 'hide sexuality'

Published 02/07/2011 | 05:00

A BANK of Ireland manager sacked for circulating "obscene and offensive pornographic emails" claimed he did so to disguise his homosexuality.

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James Reilly, a manager at the bank's Blanchardstown branch, and two junior staff members were dismissed in 2009 after an internal investigation found a large number of lewd emails had been circulated on the bank's email system.

Mr Reilly is appealing his dismissal and has claimed Bank of Ireland did not follow proper procedure in dismissing him.

He appeared before the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday after his case was adjourned last March.

Testifying on behalf of the bank, senior manager Paddy Lonergan, who was appointed to investigate the alleged "misuse of emails", said Mr Reilly was "quite emotional" when he called him into a meeting with another bank official on March 12, 2009, to discuss the matter.

He said Mr Reilly didn't deny sending the emails, which the investigator described as "pornographic, indecent, obscene, rude and generally distasteful".

He recalled Mr Reilly telling him: "I was promoted young at 23. I know I've breached policy. I'm mortified. I probably sent them to show I wasn't gay," he said.

He also quoted Mr Reilly as telling him, "I'm known as a ladies' man. The last three years have been hell."

When Mr Lonergan questioned him about the emails, Mr Reilly said he received some on his mobile phone, which he sent to his work email address with the intention of forwarding them on.

Asked why he did this, Mr Lonergan quoted Mr Reilly as saying: "I didn't want anyone to know about my homosexuality."

Mr Lonergan said he examined 1,139 emails sent and/or received by Mr Reilly between February 15, 2007, and February 16, 2009.

Of them, 914 were unrelated to work, he told the tribunal.

He then compiled what he said was a representative sample of 12 of the offensive emails.

Mr Lonergan said he thought the emails were highly inappropriate. "As a manager there are certain behaviours that are expected," he told the tribunal.

"Having that kind of engagement with junior staff just didn't sit well with me," he said, adding he felt the emails in question clearly breached the bank's code of conduct on email policy.

"It (reflected) poorly on the bank," he added.

Mr Reilly, who is seeking to be reinstated by the bank, is to appear again when the hearing resumes on November 15.

Irish Independent

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