AUSTRALIA—Virgin Blue is an airline that apparently takes its name literally. The Australian division of Sir Richard Branson’s airline empire has fired 20 employees for watching porn on work computers. The workers were fired Wednesday, according to news.com.au.
“While Virgin Blue would not confirm what staff [was] involved, it is believed they were members of the airline's pit crew, who are involved in refueling and minor maintenance,” the site reported. “It is believed that employees from Virgin Blue's Sydney and Brisbane terminals had been caught taking part in a pornographic video-swapping ring.”
An airline spokesperson, Danielle Keighery, stressed that the employees were not engaged in illegal activity, but had simply violated company policy. Keighery also said the firings “were the result of one incident but would not comment on specifics.”
"We did run a very fair process to investigate the situation and that investigation resulted in several terminations,” she said.
In anticipation of the deployment of the Australian ISP-level filtering, the airline could have disciplined the employees instead of firing them, but instead it decided to take the most extreme course possible. Considering the sweeping intolerance Down Under for porn on the internet, on mobile devices or even stowed away in one’s luggage, the airline’s action is not particularly surprising. Disappointing, yes; surprising, no.