Canadian authorities have ruled that an aerospace company was justified in firing an employee caught masturbating in a workplace toilet.

IMP Group Ltd, which operates from Halifax Airport, fired the employee, who was not named in the ruling, after other employees heard him masturbating in a toilet cubicle.

He was first reported to his employer in 2016 after his workmates heard someone “breathing heavily, making erratic movements and moaning”, Canadian media reported.

The man, named as AB by the arbitrator who heard the case, was advised of the reports and the behaviour ceased.

It seems the man could not get a grip on this issue however, as similar reports arose in 2018.

Employees reported “heavy breathing, moaning and sounds consistent with orgasm” and noted that the activity had become “more frequent and brazen”.

After an investigation, AB admitted he had been watching pornography and masturbating. He did not offer any explanation for his behaviour and was fired.

The man’s case was then taken up by his trade union, Unifor, who argued that he had a disability – a sex addiction – that should have been accommodated by his employer.

The arbitrator said he was not ruling on whether masturbating at work was permissible, but whether AB’s actions violated the privacy and comfort of his colleagues.

AB testified that he would never commit the acts if someone was in the stall next to him, muted his phone while he watched the explicit material, and had never been told by his workmates that his behaviour made them uncomfortable.

The arbitrator rejected these arguments and upheld the man’s sacking, saying that AB “conducted an activity that he knew [and certainly ought to have known] would and did cause embarrassment and distress to his co-workers once they became aware that he was doing it in close proximity to them.”

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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