Christian worker who watched porn to deal with work stress awarded compensation

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A conservative Christian worker who watched porn to relieve work stress has been awarded compensation after suffering a stroke at work.

Michael Bowker, 47, served as national office manager for Family Voice Australia in Adelaide, a “Christian ministry to the nation” that campaigns against same-sex marriage and sex work.

Mr Bowker suffered a stroke and collapsed at work in April 2016, leaving him in hospital for three months with various complications.

The SA Employment Tribunal ruled Mr Bowker should receive compensation on July 31 after findings his stress levels “significantly contributed” to the brain haemorrhage.

The South African native from a “seriously religious family” had struggled with dependence on pornography after witnessing a drive-by shooting in 1993, Daily Mail Australia reports.

Tribunal deputy president Stephen Lieschke said: “He felt this was in conflict with his religious beliefs and his moral standards.

“He believed that looking at pornography was a sin.

“He said that when he felt under pressure or stress he used pornography.”

Family Voice Australia and Return to Work SA argued that Mr Bowker’s use of pornography contributed to his high stress levels.

However, the tribunal ruled it was caused by his anxiety over work issues.

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Mr Bowker struggled with poor staff morale, long hours and his workload.

He felt “tensions in the office were palpable” with the national director at the time, Dr David Phillips.

Mr Bowker was awarded two years of weekly compensation payments.

He has made improvements since the stroke but is still “significantly impaired”.

Last year, a council worker was sacked after accidentally playing a porn video in a meeting – before claiming it was the sound of a goose.

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David West – an electrician for Redditch Borough Council, Worcester – started playing the video of a woman having noisy sex on his phone and was seen "frantically" tapping the mobile afterwards, the Daily Mail reported.

The staff briefing was interrupted by the loud sound of "three to four sexual moans" coming from his phone after he accidentally opened a message containing footage of a woman having an orgasm, lasting up to 30 seconds.

After Mr West was sacked for the incident in January 2019 he sued the council, claiming he had been a victim of unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

A tribunal held in Birmingham earlier this month dismissed his claims and rejected his version of events.

It ruled that "on the balance of probabilities" the sounds were of a sexual nature and not of a goose, and that Mr West was the only person who thought a bird had made the noise.

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