Recent Decision - Chris Adams v Department of Education and Training [2017] FWC 2942 (5 June 2017)


In a recent decision of Deputy President Gooley of the Fair Work Commission, the Commission has found that the dismissal of a primary school teacher in New South Wales for showing an R-rated movie clip, "purchasing" a massage from students and telling inappropriate tales in class might have been found to be harsh had he not also instructed them to keep his stories secret.

The teacher was found to have:

- told two inappropriate stories (involving a priest accidentally urinating on a girl during a wedding at which the groom got drunk and passed out, the bride wished she had married his father and everything ended in "mayhem, murder and self-strangulation");

- showed an R rated Van Damme fights video clip; and

- made unnecessary physical contact during a massage, a dance lesson and by kissing his own hand while holding onto a student's hand.

The Deputy President found that, while these alone might not constitute a valid reason, his instruction to students not to reveal his made-up stories tipped the balance in favour of a finding that his dismissal was based on a valid reason.